Patents + Prototypes
Patents + Prototypes
In the world of capitalism the monetary value of an item fluctuates according to the present value of the item. What this means is the simple question: “Just how much does the item bring in profit (or loss) through its product life?”
Large number of 99% inventors suffer from an ailment called “Paragrela” – Paranoia, Greed and Laziness. I wrote about this back in May 13th this year. A 99% inventor gets this disease once in his/her career of invention. Once recovered, the inventor either stays wise and maintains Paragrela-free career or quits inventing all together.
In short explanation an average inventor thinks what he/she had come up is so precious that the outside world mustn’t find it out. He is deeply mired in the greedy illusion that money will soon start rolling in. But, he does absolutely nothing to make that happen. Soon the concept is forgotten.
FIG 1 demonstrates the rise (and fall) of the present value of an invention, which has just popped up in your head. The first period is conceptual. It is senseless to place any value on the concept. One hears in various media that someone sold a concept for a lot of money or venture capitalists have invested large sum of money on a mere idea. Whether this is true or not, rumor like that is an ideal breeding ground for Paragrela. Why not my idea, you say?
Next step is a period of patent search and/or building a prototype. Any patent search would cost you between $400 to $2,000. Some lucky inventors get immediately shut down by discovery of exactly identical concept through the search. I say lucky because by the discovery he was saved from additional expense of proceeding further.
Prototype building takes time and money. If the inventor can do it himself, he will save money and probably learn a lot more about the concept, bet it an electrical/electronics project, mechanical and or combination of both. Another way is to hire a company or group of engineers who are in business to develop prototypes for customers. They are not cheap. Their charge rate is anywhere between $40/hour to $100/hour costing you a serious sum. A prototype that takes 100 hours to complete would be anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000. The inventor has to pay. If that is the last chunk of your life savings, don’t do it.
Upon completing several prototypes the inventor has arrived at a point to decide if he/she applies for a provisional patent and see what happens. A provisional patent is an application for a patent at US Patent Office, and has an effective date of the application that has some effect of protection till it is proven wrong. If you wish to proceed to apply for a patent, this step is recommended. This part would cost you somewhere between $500 and $2,000.
If and when a provisional patent is granted, you have somewhat stronger position to start marketing the concept with working prototype. However, a provisional patent by no means is a US Patent. Provisional means you have filed your concept on a certain date at the Patent Office. It can be overturned or invalidated by an existing prior art or two.