LOL - Hi, I`m Chris Miller and I am the co-owner of Tiger Taco which is a tool we`re selling under a patent pending utility application based around the common, ordinary cardboard box (which are used about 25 Billion times a year in the US). Our market is retail consumer and the professional manufacturer/packaging ... you can see more about it/us on our website.
I say I`m a simple taco maker, but my main company is Execution Services, a "consulting company" I started back in 1990; I have done a lot of different things in my almost 45 years on this planet ... I have been visiting SuN (Startup Nation) for something like a year because of the people who share an afficiction of entrepreneural activity (and not to sell tacos, push some kind of game, or do anything but have fun and feel "normal" with me peeps!~). Me, me, me.
While SuN is not strictly speaking an "Inventors" spot, you can find several excellent sources here about that activity ... you invent and then manufacture or license (in a nut shell). You say you have a prototype and that generally means you have something that does not currently exist and that by association means you have whats called "Intellectual Property" and that means you can and SHOULD PROTECT your ideas (if you don`t and you make it "known" to the world then you are basically giving free license to everyone to use your IP without consideration).
If you are dealing with a physical product I can not imagine anyone telling you that your protection comes from a trademark ... that is for brand names (e.g., Tiger Taco) vs. a patent (see claims 1 to 16, drawings a, b, c, etc.) If we didn`t have the pending patent, I would have trade marked the name Box Taco, but by having the patent (when it`s issued) I`m able to call it whatever we decide because someone can`t "do" what we do ... does that make sense?
Just because you have a prototype does not mean you are protected ... and if you show/tell about it without protection then you`re going down the wrong path if you`re serious about owning your IP (you can at least do an NDA for face to face, but again I`d not do that with someone bigger than you and all that jazz ... a provisional patent is not that expensive; and if that is too much then you have to look at raising money and/or going at this another way; the answer is NOT to not do something to protect yourself ... you can`t put it back into the box).
I am somewhat surprised you have not gotten a response from sending someone an email from here (but it happens and not everybody here is the same or here for the same reasons; and part of why I said to not disclose what you have as there are lurkers who might just be looking for an opportunity and all that jazz ... you learn to be careful until you`re protected). In some cases you might be asking for something free (even if it`s easy) and that`s not their idea of a good time, or they might just be too busy ... I`m ADD so this is my therapy (that`s a joke) and so I`m here at times when I should be making tacos (I actually make the steel ones, somewhat).
SO here is what I`d do if I were you ... go here https://oedci.uspto.gov/OEDCI/
and find an agent (or attorney; more expensive for a reason) and call them and ask if you can have a free initial consultation about the prototype you have made ... they will answer for you if you are in the right place and all that jazz ... have your questions prepared, read what you need to read, and be curteious of their time, and understand that while they can`t rip you off, they may also be like the doctor who figures it`s better to error by over medicating a patent ... meaning if you do need a patent it is money you will be spending and you do need to be keen on how you spend it and where ...
Well enough rambling for now ... in case you don`t know, any and all opinions given by me (and everyone?) are opinions and all that jazz!