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Home No. 5: Need Funding for Prototype? Check Here First

Apr 13

No. 5: Need Funding for Prototype? Check Here First

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Need Funding for Prototype? Check Here First

Reader question: I have a patent pending on a medical device, but I need to develop a prototype before I can interest people in testing it. What funding resources are there to help me with this?

Expert Comments:

This is probably the most common type of problem — having a great idea and then determining how do you make it happen. Obviously, the number one issue is money.

Usually, researchers go to friends and family for this type of funding. Also, you can search for any available government funds in this area. For example, you can search for venture capital for your device through your home state and the Office of Economic Development. They’ll have access to different venture funds. .

You can also try partnering with a larger company. Rather than developing it yourself, you can contact a commercial entity that might be interested in licensing the technology and developing it in-house. Because your patent is pending, you should start your search with the companies that manufacture similar devices. Tell them about your idea, and find out if they would be interested in using the technology. At that point, you should proceed to negotiate reasonable terms. This would be between you, the intellectual property’s owner, and the licensee who will actually develop and commercialize the technology and then sell the product. .

If you have already raised the money, then product development is your key challenge. If you need someone who can help you make the device, then you should identify small engineering firms. These smaller groups can take jobs like yours on an individual basis. They have the engineering software, tools and machinery to prototype something based upon an idea or design. These firms can take your idea to the next step — allowing you to demonstrate that your device works and helping you to make it more user-friendly. Your prototype will actually be in a state that’s close to the finished product that you will offer for sale.

Expert comments by Brad Yops, Assistant Director of Intellectual Property at the University of Delaware in Newark.

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