If you are an inventor wishing to patent your invention, you need to keep meticulous records and evidence of your work. For this purpose, you should use an inventor’s notebook. Here is some information on this topic from The University of Maine - Department of Industrial Co-Operation - www.umaine.edu/dic/Invent/notebook.htm (accessed 6th May 2002)
A well kept notebook of conception and subsequent development will add considerable strength to an inventor's case in filing for a patent. The inventor's notebook is one of the best ways of establishing intellectual property ownership. Since the United States grants the right to patent to the first to invent, it is extremely important to establish the date conception and due diligence in reducing the idea to practice. If you are a new inventor and have yet to start an inventors notebook, you must start one today!?
Use a book with stitch-bound numbered pages to record all information pertaining to the invention. All entries must be recorded in ink, in a continuous fashion, leaving no blank pages. The entries should also be dated and signed by the inventor, individually, and the book as a whole, should be read and signed by a credible witness at regular intervals. You must be very diligent about making entries in a timely fashion, since this document may be the only concrete proof that an inventor has to claim an idea.
Record all work previous to the starting date in the book as a summary of activity to date. Record the date of conception, names of people with whom you have discussed the idea, experiments or tests that you have performed, and any other evidence you have to support your past activities, such as receipts for supplies, materials, or services. Dated receipts should be glued to a blank page of the notebook.
Once the summary information has been entered, have a credible witness read and sign at the bottom of the last entry with the current date. Never backdate a notebook entry. The courts look for errors and any backdating may be cause for the whole book to be discarded as evidence. A credible, reliable, and trustworthy witness should be chosen based on their knowledge and their ability to readily understand the concepts and principles you have presented. In general witnesses should not be co-inventors, family members or a notary republic.
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