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July 5, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

First Prototype for Your Invention: How Much Should You Spend?

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The first thing we always tell—it doesn't matter whether they're looking for licensing or they really think they're startup mode—is to do as much looking around as they can; build their own version of a prototype, duct tape and cardboard, legos—I've seen some good ones out of playdough and pipe cleaners—whatever to get a free dimensional image out of your head and into something that you can look at, because you'll learn a lot, alright? The first thing you pay money for is a patent search. That's the first thing you pay money for.

So I'm glad you say that duct tape and cardboard and playdough and these things are okay, because as a patent attorney doing patent searches, there's nothing worse than having completed a search and having to deliver the bad news that an invention is not new, and then to find out that the inventor has put $5,000 into a professional prototype. And they have this beautiful, basically reinvention of the wheel because somebody else has the patent. So, advising people to go out and produce a beautiful prototype first…

No, that's you know, that's it's a waste of money. And you know, in some of the questions you sent me ahead of time it's like, “Oh, yeah, I—” you know, don't do that. You know, your first prototype is just what you can find stuck in the basement. You know, if you can go and buy another version of it and, you know, at a Walmart, and then readjust it—but inexpensive, it should be inexpensive. There'll be time to pay for them, but not now.

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