Engineering Notebooks as Legal Documents for Patent Development

Earning a patent on your work takes a great deal of time, effort, and documentation. The process for getting a patent requires that applicants keep detailed, chronological notes that are clear and concise. They must show specific dates along the path of development. In addition, the applicant must also have someone who is not an inventor of the patentable item corroborate the data. He or she is required to sign and date the “Disclosed to and Understood by” blocks for each event. This documentation, complete with the non-inventor documentation, is the purpose of recording in an engineering notebook.

With an engineering notebook at your disposal, you will be able to prove the date you conceptualized the invention and the date you first made a working or physical prototype of your invention. The notebook will also contain your notations regarding your efforts to diligently bring your invention to fruition. Other details contained in the notebook include an explanation of how to make and use the invention.

This information, when properly recorded and corroborated, is adequate for submission to the patent office. It can also be used to substantiate your claims of ownership, should your patent ever be challenged. This notebook creates a legal document that will support your efforts and your rights. For this reason, it is imperative that you follow the proper procedures for notating dates, important data and signatures. Just as important is the need to protect its cleanliness and take care of the notebook. Without this documentation, your request for a patent will most likely be denied.

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