We often hear from inventors who have come up with a design for something new, novel and useful in the marketplace, and they are anxious to apply for a patent in order to legally protect and stake claim to what they’ve created. A first question we often get from clients is if they need a working prototype. While a prototype is not required to get a patent, it can be helpful in identifying issues that need to be addressed in the patent application. By figuring out how the invention will actually work we can better avoid problems that may arise during the application and examination phase and will help to ensure that the patent that is ultimately secured is as strong as possible.
What Are the Benefits of a Prototype?
While an invention or product design may look great on paper, having a prototype can help confirm that the invention truly works. In creating the prototype, the inventor and attorney may discover flaws in the design process or that the product does not actually work as intended. Discovering such flaws early on in the process gives the inventor the chance to go back to the drawing board to rework their design prior to spending significant amounts of time and money on the patent application process.
As patent attorneys work with their clients through the prototype development phase, they often discover areas that could be improved upon and that can help make the patent stronger and more likely to withstand scrutiny from a patent examiner. Having the strongest patent possible ultimately helps the inventor, as it can limit the ability of competitors to find “work arounds” to the invention or opportunities for litigation in the future.
It Helps to Have a Relationship with an Attorney During This Process
While you are working to develop your prototype, your attorney will be working behind the scenes to conduct patent searches to ensure that your concept is truly novel and unique. If it’s determined that an invention like yours already exists or that yours does not materially improve upon something that’s already patented, the attorney will be able to guide the inventor through his or her remaining options. To a good patent attorney there is nothing more upsetting than hearing that an inventor has sunk tens of thousands of dollars into securing a patent, only to find out that the invention did not work as intended or was denied a patent.
Have Further Questions About the Patent Approval Process?
Our attorneys are here to offer you guidance through every step of your patent journey. If you have questions or would like feedback about an invention you are currently working on, we are available to meet with you at our Charleston, SC office or virtually via a video conference or phone consult from anywhere across the globe. Simply contact our intellectual property law firm at 888-666-0062 to schedule an appointment.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.