Which Comes First -The Patent or The Prototype?
If you have chosen the path of the product entrepreneur, at some point you will need to answer the question
“How should I properly spend my hard earned money? Do I build a prototype first or file a patent application?”
It’s a great question and while everyone’s situation is unique, more often than not it makes sense to build the prototype first especially if you have the capital to do so. There are a few reasons for this.
As you begin your prototype development, you will no doubt run across areas of design and function that need improving. While this is sometimes a frustrating process, those areas give you a unique opportunity to dig deep into your creative toolbox and develop innovative solutions that may not only be time and money-saving, but that can also protect your product by way of patents.
A really good prototype will help your product development team with manufacturing cost estimates and is useful for your marketing team to get feedback from potential customers. Also a physical prototype will help the legal team understand the claims that can be made on your patent and streamline the filing process with the USPTO.
Other Helpful Information:
One thing that may benefit you is to do an initial prior art search to try to see what other patents, published patent applications or other prior art is out there that could negatively impact your ability to get a patent, and to avoid potential patent conflicts that could arise after you have built your initial prototype. You should realize, however, that prior art searches are never perfect, and that they cannot possibly find unpublished patent applications. We always recommend to do a prior art search to find products like yours. You can do your own initial search, it will save you some money and could help you find other ideas to incorporate into your product.
If you have specific questions about this topic “Patent or Prototype? Which Comes First?” feel free to leave a comment or ask us live during our live web show on the first Tuesday of everything month. Sign up for the newsletter to get updates on show topics, guests and the latest news.