Throughout my time helping Inventhelp Inventions develop a multitude of different projects, this conundrum has often reared its head. It is essential to say from the outset that there is no definitive answer, however i will try to convey the alternative perspectives, to allow inventors to make an informed choice for themselves. The opinions on this topic vary across professionals within the IP industry as well as the answer will differ depending on the specific idea.
Having said that, here are the main reasons for developing a prototype before patenting:
A patent application needs a certain amount of detail regarding the way the idea functions. This is known as ‘sufficiency’ or even an ‘enabling disclosure’. It is often easier to describe, and draw, an invention after a prototype has been created and tested.
Prototyping develops the thought and it could be that the new or better solution is achieved. Potentially these iterative developments could require altering the first patent application or filing a whole new application. This may cost more or bring about advantageous changes being left unprotected.
The grace period before substantial fees and important decisions need to be made throughout the patenting process is quite short, taking into consideration the average time it takes to produce a brand new product onto the market. It can be argued that it must be preferable to progress the idea whenever possible before filing the patent application, including finalising the design and style through prototyping. This might then allow the grace period to be used for manufacturing or licensing the merchandise.
A prototype may be used to test the market plus some people take into account that it is best to accomplish this before embarking on a potentially expensive How To Start An Invention Idea strategy. (Disclosing the idea can prevent a granted patent being achieved and legal advice should be taken on how to test the marketplace without forfeiting potential patenting opportunities. Confidentiality agreements are just one way of protecting an idea before a patent application has become filed.)
A prototype may prove that the idea will not be viable therefore saving the cost and time involved with drafting and filing a patent application.
Conversely, below are the main good reasons to file a patent application before prototyping:
Prototypes often must be made by companies and for that reason it may be smart to apply for the patent first to safeguard the intellectual property.
In the event the inventor waits for your prototype to be produced before filing the patent application, someone else may file a software for the similar idea first. In many countries of the world, including the UK, the patents systems are ‘first to file’ rather than ‘first to invent’.
The patent application process features a thorough worldwide novelty and inventiveness search by the UK IPO that may reveal valuable prior art material, not merely in terms of the direction the prototype should take, but in addition with regards to potential infringement issues whereby the prototype can then be designed around existing patents.
A patent application and the resulting patent, like all intellectual property, gives an asset that is belonging to the inventor or applicant company. If prepared effectively, the patent can be licensed or sold to generate an income stream potentially without ever being forced to make the prototype.
It may be better to start with a patent application if funds are limited, as being a patent application is normally cheaper than a prototype.
A ‘provisional’ patent application may be filed without requiring great detail, providing a follow-up application is then filed within 12 months which describes the thought in more detail. This might be following the proof of concept offered by the prototype.
There are some ways round these problems. Prototyping manufacturers can have to sign a confidentiality agreement before the idea is disclosed. However keep in mind most companies will not sign confidentiality agreements, since their in-house departments may be focusing on similar ideas. Pre-application patent searches may be completed before prototyping or patenting to learn whether it be sensible to proceed without having to draft and file an application.
You will find a third perspective for consideration. Some industry experts would suggest that it’s not a patent or prototype which should come first nevertheless the opinion of skilled professionals whether the idea is viable and can sell. They could debate that the prototype and patent are very important parts of the process but, at the start, it’s best to ascertain that there is really a market before making an investment in either a patent or prototype.
To conclude, the best way to proceed with any new product idea is How To Obtain A Patent. If the novel functionality in the idea is unproven, then this prototype may be a sensible first step. It is worth ensuring that a fbmsjf clients are used to produce the prototype and that a confidentiality agreement is signed before the concept being revealed. Alternatively, the inventor may choose to file a patent application first and accept that additional cost may be incurred to re-file or amend the application as the project is developed.