Can someone obtain a patent for an idea, without having a prototype or working model?

As others have pointed out – an idea is not patentable by itself. You must cross over that line between an idea and invention! Although submitting models and prototypes are not required, doing so can be useful in demonstrating to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that your invention works properly and that it isn’t a mere idea. The USPTO requires that your invention be described in your application to the level of detail that someone skilled in the technical area of your invention can recreate your invention without undue burden. Thus, if you believe you can submit an application that sufficiently describes your product then you can take the chance of going modeless.

Even if your idea is patentable and you do not need to submit a prototype for your specific invention, you still have to think about the sums of money patent registration – and enforcement – requires. For bootstrapping entrepreneurs, there are more cost-friendly routes that can provide strong intellectual property (IP) protection. Non-disclosure agreements and trade secret protection can work just as well as costly patent registration, especially when combined with innovation, design and speed. Employees, board members and advisors should be required to sign agreements requiring them to assign all business-related IP to the startup. You will also want to extend IP protection through agreements with non-employees, including vendors. outsourced designers, consultants, engineers, and even customers.

I encourage you to visit LawTrades for further guidance on determining the value of your patent as we offer free consultations with skilled patent attorneys. Also, please feel free to contact me directly with any concerns you have about registering your patent or protecting your intellectual property. I hope that helps and good luck moving forward!