A total of 166,000 patent applications were processed at the European Patent Office in 2017. So, if you’ve been wondering whether you will get a patent for your product by seeing the number above, know that you can improve your odds by building a prototype for it.
Though it is not the requirement of European Patent Office to submit your application, a prototype shows the authorities that you have thought about your idea thoroughly in detail.
So, if you have no idea about how to get started or are on your way to build your product’s first prototype, then read along the step by step guide given below to help you understand the correct approach in a little more detail.
- Get it sketched
To turn your idea into reality, the first step is to get it drawn on a paper. Drawing your idea on paper will help you visualize your product in a better manner. Now, we know that this is an age of technology and digital drawing program is all the rage, but it will be cheaper and time saving to begin by drawing on a paper first. As you keep on drawing, you will even come up with better designs for your first prototype.
Make sure that you are maintaining a sketchbook to provide a documentation proof when you are going to file for a patent. You can also use it as evidence if someone copies your idea and you have to defend the ownership of your property. According to intellectual property advisers, hand drawn sketches stand a strong chance compared to digital designs in court.
- Developing a digital prototype
After you are done with a paper sketch and have finally decided which design you will go ahead with, you have to develop a virtual prototype of the same. The most widely used design tool across the world by most engineers and illustrators is AutoCAD, which helps them draw both 2D as well as 3D drawings.
A 3D rendering will help you animate and rotate your virtual sketch, helping you view it from various angles. If you want to transition your 3D rendering into a photorealistic prototype, you can use tools like CATIA Live Rendering, Quadro and NVIDIA Iray.
These tools will help you get a better understanding of how the product actually looks. If you don’t have enough knowledge on how to use these tools, you will have to hire a good company or freelancers who can help you get past this step.
- Building a physical prototype
After you have got yourself a virtual prototype, you are good to go ahead and build a physical one. You can build oneall by yourself provided you have the required skills. But, if you are falling short on skills, you will need to get help from resources available in the market. So, do a thorough market research and approach a professional prototype designer to help you.
A substitute option will be getting an engineer or designer to build your prototype. But, if you are falling short on cash, you may have to seek a handyman. You can also post an advertisement in various industrial design colleges or forums and get a prototype built in a price lower than the market one.
Once you are done building your first prototype, you will find certain flaws that should be fixed before you file for a patent. To make sure your prototype works flawlessly, you will have to build them again and again; so build them out of cheap material and save money. After you have perfected the design and fixed all the flaws go ahead with the actual material you will need for your product.
- Finalizing a manufacturer
Now that you have got a flawless and perfectly functional prototype, you are all set to apply for a patent. However, this is not where you stop; you go one step ahead and meet a manufacturer.
Start your research and locate a manufacturer that will produce your product at a price suitable for both of you. Approach various raw material suppliers and manufactures to get accurate market costs. This will help you take up cost efficient materials and techniques to bring that prototype into production on a large scale.
If you are looking forward to profits, get your products built at a lower cost so you can cover your basic expenses and make sure that it does not affect your revenue.
Though you have made design fixes and run your products through rigorous tests, you need to make sure that it performs well in real life conditions. So, approach some industry experts, ship them your first batch of samples and get a review from them.
Now all the industry experts will not be residing in your local area, so to ensure that they receive product in good condition see to it that you ship your product in quality tote boxes so they don’t get damaged in transit. Getting your product tested in various countries and weather conditions will also help you identify the changes you need to make in order to improve your product.
We hope the guide helps you build a better prototype to succeed in your quest.