A PCB prototype is unnecessary to have a patent, but it may have value. If you work in secret, and you feel you have the time, building a prototype can trigger a better patent. It will help you find what the original concept is, it minimizes ideas that seemed good at the time but did not work, and it educates you on additional embodiments and the design-around. This knowledge can help create a patent which is more clear, more comprehensive, and harder to infringe upon.
However few people have the richness of making a LED PCB prototype initially. If you want to widely share or even pre-sell your innovation so that you can get financing for the prototype, you will need to patent it before the prototype is created. (more…)