Throughout my time helping How To Pitch An Idea To A Company develop a multitude of different projects, this conundrum has often reared its head. You should say from the outset that there is absolutely no definitive answer, but 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 and also the answer will differ depending on the specific idea.
With that in mind, below are the premiere factors behind developing a prototype before patenting:
A patent application requires a certain amount of detail regarding just how the idea functions. This is known as ‘sufficiency’ or an ‘enabling disclosure’. It is usually easier to describe, and draw, an invention after a prototype has been created and tested.
Prototyping develops the idea and it might be that the new or better option is achieved. Potentially these iterative developments could require altering the first patent application or filing a brand new application. This may are more expensive or lead to advantageous changes being left unprotected.
The grace period before substantial fees and important decisions have to be made throughout the patenting process is very short, taking into consideration the average time that it takes to produce a brand new product on the market. It can be argued that it is safer to progress the concept whenever possible before filing the patent application, including finalising the design through prototyping. This would then enable the grace period to be used for manufacturing or licensing the item.
A prototype can be used to test the marketplace and some people consider that it is advisable to do that before starting your potentially expensive Inventhelp Headquarters strategy. (Disclosing the thought can prevent a granted patent being achieved and legal counsel should be taken concerning how to test the market without forfeiting potential patenting opportunities. Confidentiality agreements are a way of protecting an idea before a patent application continues to be filed.)
A prototype may prove that the idea is not really viable therefore saving the price and time involved in drafting and filing a patent application.
Conversely, below are the primary top reasons to file a patent application before prototyping:
Prototypes often need to be created by companies and for that reason it can be a good idea to apply for the patent first to protect the intellectual property.
In the event the inventor waits for the prototype to become produced before filing the patent application, someone else may file an application for the similar idea first. In lots of countries of the world, such as the UK, the patents systems are ‘first to file’ rather than ‘first to invent’.
The patent application process incorporates a thorough worldwide novelty and inventiveness search from the UK IPO that could reveal valuable prior art material, not merely regarding the direction the prototype should take, but additionally when it comes 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, provides an asset which is belonging to the inventor or applicant company. If prepared effectively, the patent may be licensed or sold to create money stream potentially without ever having to produce the prototype.
It may be better to start with a patent application if funds are restricted, as being a patent application is normally cheaper than a prototype.
A ‘provisional’ patent application can be filed without requiring great detail, providing a followup application will be filed within one year which describes the idea in more detail. This may be after the evidence of concept provided by the prototype.
There are a few ways round these problems. Prototyping manufacturers can have to sign a confidentiality agreement before the idea is disclosed. However be aware that most companies will not sign confidentiality agreements, since their in-house departments may be working on similar ideas. Pre-application patent searches could be performed before prototyping or patenting to find out be it sensible to proceed while not having to draft and file a software.
There is a third perspective for consideration. Some skilled professionals would claim that it’s not just a patent or prototype which should come first nevertheless the opinion of skilled professionals as to whether the concept is viable and definately will sell. They might debate that the prototype and patent are very important elements of this process but, in the beginning, it’s better to ascertain there is truly a market before purchasing either a patent or prototype.
In summary, the simplest way to proceed with any new product idea is Patent Invention. When the novel functionality of the idea is unproven, then a prototype can be a sensible first step. It is worth making certain a fbmsjf company is utilized to produce the prototype and that a confidentiality agreement is signed prior to the concept being revealed. Alternatively, the inventor might want to file a patent application first and accept that additional cost could be incurred to re-file or amend the applying because the project is developed.