Once you have your idea one of the first things to do is follow the practice
of industrial researchers and conduct a preliminary literature search to determine
that your invention has not already been described. Quite simply, maybe someone
else has already had the same idea and received a patent. Further investigation
is not a wise investment of time without knowing your idea is novel.
The next thing to do is test practicality: do you have something that the public
is willing to pay for. Under the conditions of the patent law, your discovery
must be "useful." This means that your discovery must have a purpose
and your invention must work. The process of making sure that your invention will
work to perform its useful purpose is called "reduction to practice."
To physically reduce your invention to practice, you must make and test your discovery
under actual conditions of use.
- A new insecticide might be reduced to practice when it has been produced and
used with success for its intended purpose of controlling a specific pest.
- A mechanical robot might be reduced to practice when it has been built and
used successfully to carry out its intended function in an auto assembly line.
It is not always necessary to physically reduce your invention to practice.
You may use lab tests to demonstrate usefulness. Filing a patent application also
is a type of reduction to practice.