A prototype, although not required in order to receive a patent, is highly recommended before moving forward with a patent search. But before you start making a prototype of your invention you need to know some very important things.
Most often, you will begin prototyping your idea before you have a patent on file. Also, it will probably involve hiring someone who has access to the tools, material and equipment necessary to make a prototype of your invention. For this reason, you will want to make sure that you have a confidentiality agreement signed. Who should sign a confidentiality agreement? Anyone to whom you disclose your invention. And, you will want to make sure that you trust that they will keep your idea confidential. You can consult with InventHelp professionals about it and you can find more information about InventHelp here.
It is important to keep your idea confidential because failure to do so could constitute a public use of your invention. If you invention is publicly used before you have a patent on file, this would begin the ticking of the clock for a one year grace period. You have exactly one year from the earliest date of public use within which to file for a patent. Failure to do so will result in the loss of your right to a patent. That is why you want to make sure that any disclosure of your invention is done so only after a Confidentiality Agreement has been signed.
But, sometimes just having a confidentiality agreement is not enough to completely protect you, which brings me to Thing #2.
The Work for Hire Agreement
Under U.S. Patent law, a patent may be filed only in the name of the original inventor or inventors. And, all inventors have equal rights to the patent. When you hire someone to help build you a prototype, it is possible that they will come up with additional improvements to your invention. It would then be required that they be named as an inventor on your patent application.
For this reason, before you hire someone to help you, you need to have them sign what is called a *Work for Hire* or *Consultant Agreement*. In this agreement, the person that you hire, the consultant, will agree to assign all patent and intellectual property rights to you even if they become a named inventor. This allows you to maintain all rights to your patent.
This is important because if you do not have such an agreement, you could end up splitting your profits with this other person. Consult with InventHelp if you have any doubts.
Okay, I hope that you make sure that everyone that you speak to about your invention signs a Confidentiality Agreement, and that anyone you hire agrees to assign all intellectual property rights to you.