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An invention is legally complete when the conceived idea is "reduced to practice".  Reduction to practice may take two forms:
1) actual reduction to practice; and 2) constructive reduction to practice.  Actual reduction to practice is where a working model is built.  Constructive reduction to practice may be done by filing a patent application on the invention, even though no working model was built.  There are many examples of where a model need not be built before filing a patent application.    

While it is not a legal requirement that an inventor must actually build a working model of their invention before they can get a patent, we always recommend that you do in fact build one.  The reason is that when you have a model in your hand, you can learn from actually using or watching the invention in use what its shortcomings are, and where improvements need to be made.

Then you can make the improvements to come up with (hopefully) the best mode possible of the invention.  If you don't build a prototype and just go for the patent, then you run the risk of someone else finding out what the shortcomings of your invention are before you find them out.  In such a case another person may be able to improve your invention to the point that their improvement in itself is patentable, in which case you would need to get their permission (license) before you could make, use, or sell the best mode of your own original invention.  Ouch.

So, do yourself a favor and build a model.  If you're not handy at building things, there are reputable people who do prototyping.  If you can't locate someone to do your prototyping, we can refer you to a qualified prototyper in the field of your invention.

Thanks for visiting.

Chris Whewell
Registered Patent Agent

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