Inventor's notebook  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

An inventor's notebook is used by inventors, scientists and engineers to record their ideas, invention process, experimental tests and results and observations. It is not a legal document but is valuable, if properly organized and maintained, since it can help establish dates of conception and reduction to practice. The information can improve the outcome of a patent or a patent contestation.

Contents

Purpose

A patent grants its owner(s) the right to sue those who manufacture and market products or services that infringe on the claims declared in the patent. Typically, governments award patents on either a first to file or first to invent basis. The latter is currently true for the United States. Therefore, it is important to keep and maintain records that help establish who is first to invent a particular invention.

The inventor's notebook (also called a journal, lab book or log book) is a systematic device for recording all information related to an invention in such a way that it can be used to develop a case during a patent contestation or patent-related lawsuit.

The notebook is also a valuable tool for the inventor since it provides a chronological record of an invention and its reduction to practice. Each entry must be signed and dated by a witness. The witness should not be someone with a conflict of interest (such as a research partner). If an inventor ever has to go to court to prove he or she was the first to invent, then the witness would be called to the stand to testify that the signature is theirs and they signed that page on that date.

A "virtual inventor's notebook", in which one scans note pages and emails them to oneself, would not provide the same legal protection as a bound inventor's notebook since it is easier to commit fraud with a virtual notebook.

Famous notebooks

Though not necessarily following all the guidelines above, journals and notebooks have been kept by many famous inventors, scientists and engineers. Some of the most well-known journals include those of:

Notes

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Further reading

  • Grisson, Fred & Pressman, David. (2000). The Inventor's Notebook, 3rd Edition. Nolo.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Inventor's notebook" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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