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If you've been working hard on a new invention, it's likely you are fairly invested in it. It might be hard to see the big picture initially. Sometime inventors rush right into the prototyping and patenting processes, spending a fair amount of time and money, only to discover they wasted it. But these days the more you wait the more chance there is that someone else will sneak in on your invention territory.
So when do you spend the money on an invention prototype and when should you hold off? Do you do marketability studies first before you spend money on a series of prototypes? It depends on the type of product you have. If you have a fairly expensive, high-tech product, which may cost as much as $200,000 to perfect and patent, you may want to study the market first. But, maybe your product can be prototyped with inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials, so the opposite may be true. However, if the success of your product will depend on consumer-driven factors like packaging, you may need to conduct focus groups before you prototype.
In the end, you want to invest as little as possible determining if your product is viable in the market place, especially because there will always be commercialization factors beyond your control.