Do they need an actual working prototype when they start considering our patents?
No, that's a common misconception. And I've had, you know, unfortunately, a lot of inventors think that a prototype is required. So before they see a patent attorney and find out if the idea is new, they'll spend a lot of time and effort creating their prototype and creating the invention. In fact, several years ago, I had a client. His concept was—and I can discuss it because unfortunately, it was a case where somebody already had the patent, so it's already public knowledge—but his idea was to take a lawn mower blade with vertical blades, in addition to the horizontal blades, so that when the grass is cut, it further chops the grass into tiny pieces, and distributes them. He spent about $4,500 on creating this prototype. And when we did the patent search, we found out that he couldn't produce it because someone else already had the idea patented. So the moral of this story is don't produce the prototype until you know that nobody else owns rights to it. Otherwise you're just throwing money away on getting a prototype made. You need to see a patent attorney and have a search done to make sure that you can even make the product.