Do You Need a Prototype to Get a Patent?

Patents and Prototypes: What You Need to Know, Shared by Our Patent Lawyer in Philadelphia, PA

As an inventor, you know that bringing an idea into a fully-functioning creation is difficult. Whether that idea is something small, simple, but new and effective, or something that is more complex and difficult, all inventions require a significant investment of time and money. This often leads to seeking a patent. One of the important considerations that many people make is whether a prototype is necessary before obtaining a patent. This very important inquiry requires an experienced patent lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, to help you decide.

Our patent lawyers and trademark lawyers at Paul & Paul can help make these important decisions with you and handle them for you. We have over 170 years of combined experience in representing individuals and businesses, obtaining patents, trademarks, copyrights, and performing other intellectual property (IP) actions like selling, trading, buying, licensing, or litigating IP infringement cases. If you have any IP needs, or are unsure what you may need, call to schedule a FREE consultation to learn how we can help you.

Do I Need a Prototype to Get a Patent?

No, you do not need a prototype to get a patent. There are no legal requirements that a prototype is required. Although the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provides some examples of when prototypes may help the process, including the famous water gun, an inventor does not need a prototype to get a patent.

If I Don’t Need One, Can One Still Help My Application?

Yes, absolutely. Although a prototype is not required by federal law, having a prototype can help your patent application in a number of ways. First, it can help an examiner understand what you are trying to do. But second, it can also allow you and your patent lawyer to better protect your idea and the mechanisms within your idea from possible infringers. That is because having a working prototype can allow everyone to see how to better protect your product.

However, developing a patent can be very costly—especially with more complicated products. A patent can also allow other eyes to see what you are doing and “race” you to the patent office for approval. This can cause serious issues for you and your product.

Considerations on Whether to Get a Prototype

There are several considerations when to get a patent, which include the following:

●    The Cost – if a prototype is going to cost you only a few hundred dollars to get, then get it. But if it is more than $1,000, it might not be worth it.

●    Function – if a prototype will help show how your product functions, you should get it—especially if it may be confusing from the drawings.

●    Time – do not delay a patent application for a prototype. If your prototype can be quickly made, then do it. But if you have to wait months for it, do not get it.

●    Licensing – if you plan to license your idea, do not get a prototype because it can be easily stolen, or you may also have to pay additional fees for the manufacturer that may want to tweak the design slightly.

●    Your idea is groundbreaking and in a hot/intense market – generally, prototypes for inventions that are in very competitive and active markets should avoid prototypes for risk of infringement or being beaten to the patent office, and

●    Other important points you should discuss with your lawyer.

If You Have a Product to Patent, Ask Us if a Prototype is Worth It

Individuals and businesses looking to obtain a patent and trying to decide if a prototype is worth it for their application should call the experienced law firm of Paul & Paul for a FREE consultation. With over 170 years of combined experience, our patent lawyers and trademark lawyers in Philadelphia, PA, can help decide what is best for you. Call today to schedule your appointment by dialing (215) 568-4900 or by sending us a message with our easy-to-use contact us box available here.

This website is designed to provide only general information. The information presented on this website is not formal legal advice. You should not rely on any general information from any source for making legal decisions. Each legal matter is unique and requires specific attention from a qualified and experienced attorney. Unless a representation agreement has been signed with Paul & Paul, we are not your legal representatives.


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