Can I patent an idea or concept before actually producing a prototype? 11 Answers as of August 24, 2012

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Yang & Wang, P.C.
Yang & Wang, P.C. | Tommy Wang
Hi there, Yes.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/24/2012
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
Yes. However, the patent description must be complete and enable a person of ordinary skill to make and use the invention you claim, and should make clear that you had possession of the details of the invention.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/24/2012
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
Yes, you can patent an idea before actually producing a prototype and people do it all the time.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 8/24/2012
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Yes, the patent office does not require a working sample. We have filed and issued patents before the inventor has made a working version of the idea or concept.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/24/2012
HELMHOLDT LAW PLC | Thomas D. Helmholdt
You do not have to actual produce a prototype before filing a patent application, but you do have to be able to describe the invention in sufficient detail to enable someone skilled in the art to make and use the invention.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2012
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    Patents do not protect mere ideas or concepts. You can file a patent for a "prophetic" invention without making a prototype, but it must have sufficient information to satisfy the basic requirements of patentability, including novelty, non-obviousness, written description, utility and enablement.

    Enablement is the biggest problem with "prophetic" inventions because a patent must provide sufficient details and information to permit someone of ordinary skill in the art to successfully carry out the invention.

    This ordinarily means that a patent must contain examples from experiments that prove that the invention works-an invention must be operative (meaning it must work) to be enabled.

    Lots of people have thought about time travel machines, but you can't get a patent on it because no one has shown how to make it work.

    Unless a prototype is built and tested, it may be difficult for the patent applicant to meet the burden of showing that the invention is enabled and operative (i.e., that it works)., and to explain in sufficient detail and precision how it works.

    Nonetheless, it is not impossible to obtain a patent for a prophetic invention.

    But one thing is certain, you can't do this without legal counsel, and getting a patent that is actually worth something is not cheap.

    Companies often spend $50,000 or more to get a single patentbe careful of those who offer you a flat fee for a patent application of a few thousand dollars-as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/24/2012
    Ochoa and Associates
    Ochoa and Associates | Susan Ochoa Spiering
    Yes, you can file for a patent application when you have the idea reduced in your mind as to how it will work.

    The law of "best mode" requires you disclose the best mode or method of making the invention.

    Examples or prototypes are not required. However, it is getting more difficult to pass muster through the patent office without examples, or quanatiative or comparative data.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/24/2012
    Shimokaji & Associates
    Shimokaji & Associates | Michael Shimokaji
    Yes, but the idea needs to be at least developed to the extent that another person can make and use the idea.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/24/2012
    Tran & Associates | Bao Tran
    Absolutely. You just need detailed drawings and descriptive text. I recommend buying ProvisionalBuilder software from a company called PowerPatent. It's great for DIY to save money.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/24/2012
    The Olmsted Law Group PLLC
    The Olmsted Law Group PLLC | Andrew Olmsted
    Yes and I highly recommend doing so. Please feel free to contact my firm for a free consultation as to why.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/24/2012
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