Throughout my time helping How To Submit A Patent develop numerous different projects, this conundrum has often reared its head. It is essential to say from the outset that there is absolutely no definitive answer, but I will aim to convey the alternative perspectives, to allow inventors to make an informed choice for themselves. The opinions on this topic vary across professionals in the IP industry and the answer will differ depending on the specific idea.
Having said that, listed here are the main reasons for building a prototype before patenting:
A patent application requires a certain degree of detail regarding how the idea functions. This is referred to as ‘sufficiency’ or an ‘enabling disclosure’. It is often much easier to describe, and draw, an invention once a prototype has been given and tested.
Prototyping develops the concept and it might be that the new or better solution is achieved. Potentially these iterative developments could require altering the original patent application or filing a brand new application. This might will cost more or result in advantageous changes being left unprotected.
The grace period before substantial fees and important decisions have to be made throughout the patenting process is fairly short, taking into consideration the average time that it takes to produce a whole new product onto the market. It could be argued that it is safer to progress the concept as far as 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 product.
A prototype may be used to test the market and some people consider that it is recommended to accomplish this before starting your potentially expensive I Have An Invention Idea Now What strategy. (Disclosing the thought can prevent a granted patent being achieved and legal services ought to be taken regarding how to test the marketplace without forfeiting potential patenting opportunities. Confidentiality agreements are a way of protecting an understanding before a patent application has been filed.)
A prototype may prove the idea is not viable therefore saving the price and time involved in drafting and filing a patent application.
Conversely, listed here are the primary good reasons to file a patent application before prototyping:
Prototypes often must be created by companies and thus it can be wise to apply for the patent first to guard the intellectual property.
When the inventor waits for that prototype to be produced before filing the patent application, somebody else may file a software for the very same idea first. In lots of countries around the globe, including the UK, the patents systems are ‘first to file’ and not ‘first to invent’.
The patent application process includes a thorough worldwide novelty and inventiveness search from the UK IPO that may reveal valuable prior art material, not just in terms of the direction the prototype should take, but additionally with regards to potential infringement issues whereby the prototype may then be designed around existing patents.
A patent application as well as the resulting patent, like all intellectual property, gives an asset that is properties of the inventor or applicant company. If prepared effectively, the patent can be licensed or sold to create earnings stream potentially without ever needing to produce the prototype.
It could be better first of all a patent application if funds are restricted, as 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 will then be filed within 12 months which describes the thought in depth. This might be after the proof of concept provided by the prototype.
There are several ways round these problems. Prototyping manufacturers can be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement before the idea is disclosed. However bear in mind that most companies is not going to sign confidentiality agreements, since their in-house departments might be focusing on similar ideas. Pre-application patent searches could be carried out just before prototyping or patenting to discover whether it is sensible to proceed while not having to draft and file a software.
There is a third perspective for consideration. Some skilled professionals would suggest that it’s not really a patent or prototype that should come first nevertheless the opinion of industry experts whether the idea is viable and definately will sell. They might debate that the prototype and patent are very important elements of the procedure but, in the beginning, it’s better to ascertain there is really a market before making an investment in either a patent or prototype.
To conclude, the simplest way to proceed with any new product idea is Inventhelp Inventions. In the event the novel functionality in the idea is unproven, then a prototype can be a sensible first step. It is actually worth making sure a fbmsjf company is employed to make the prototype and this a confidentiality agreement is signed ahead of 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 since the project is developed.