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Patent or Prototype?

joshuabehmjoshuabehm subscriber Posts: 1
edited November 2007 in Business Planning
I have an idea for an invention and am not sure how to proceed from here. I have found TONS on information on how to get a patent, how to build a prototype, etc., etc. but my problem is that I am not sure which comes first.....the patent or the prototype. Do you first protect your "idea" or do you first refine your idea through a functional prototype and then patent the final prototype? I am a new inventor/entrepreneur looking for some advice. I appreciate anyone taking the time and interest to help.


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    grabitpackgrabitpack subscriber Posts: 5
    I made my prototype first and didn`t advertise it to anyone but close friends and those working on it.
    I purchased patent search software and made sure nothing else was like it and filed a provisional patent online (for $100).
    I don`t know if there is a "right" way to do it but this was the easiest and cheapest.
    Good luck
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    MackVVVMackVVV subscriber Posts: 0
    I have always thought it was a prototype that comes first before the patent. In registering your invention for a patent, they may require you to submit pictures, drawings, plans or perhaps a sample to keep or check.In any case if its all still in the drawing board, bring it into a solid invention already.
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    GrillCharmerGrillCharmer subscriber Posts: 7
    Hello there Joshuabehm!  Here`s my take on things....You need to build prototypes and do your market research first before applying for a patent.   Inevitably during your primary market research with your prototypes you will find things that need to be changed and adjusted and if you applied for your patent first, the changes would not be protected.   Use a non-disclosure agreement during the early stages with your prototype manufacturer until you have patent pending status.
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    Innovator7Innovator7 subscriber Posts: 9
    Does it solve a big pain?  Can it be made cheaply enough to sell at a price people are willing to pay for?
    Listen to GrillCharmer.  She`s smart (and charming too.)Innovator711/14/2007 9:54 AM
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    GrillCharmerGrillCharmer subscriber Posts: 7
    Awwww shucks  Thanks man!
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    beachdibeachdi subscriber Posts: 10
    I 2nd the motion...Listen to grillcharmer...she is very smart.
    I also have inventions I have been working on this year. My opinion is to definitely prototype first...Otherwise, how do you know your idea is even viable?   How do you know the design will work, will do what it is suppose to do?  And do people even want it?    make it work, then use it, test it.   You do not have to show it to anybody, nor talk about it...Well, at  least have 1 other persons opinion on your working prototype.  
    I have had to scrap a couple of inventions due to manufacturing cost for the textile components being too high, or I had a hard time finding a USA manufacturer.   OR I would have to spend a lot of time, money and energy on 1 product and the mark up from manufacturing to retail would not be that much...You get the idea.
    I hope this helps.   I think you may be encountering the same thing that happened to me in the beginning-information overload.   Quit reading stuff, and start to workin` on that prototype, that is the fun part!
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    EdwardSEdwardS subscriber Posts: 1
    Prototype first is a good idea for the reasons already mentioned.  But there are some exceptions.  If it is a complex product you might need to involve others in creation of the prototype and they might not be willing to sign an NDA.  So a PPA will give you some protection.  Or you might want to perform some manufacturability or market research before spending the money on a complex prototype.  A PPA helps in these cases tool.
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    EricaKEricaK subscriber Posts: 0
    I agree with most of the posts. Prototype and design desvelopment first before the patent is made. There will most likely be changes during the development/prototype process, so you will not want to generate an entirely new patent when you get through with that development. 
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