Laboratory Notebooks and Intellectual Property

In the scientific world, protecting intellectual property as it relates to a scientific discovery is critical for defending a patent. In many cases, the official date of your discovery is based upon the date of the patent application’s submission, but there are some situations that require proof of the date that an idea was formed. This is particularly true for the scientific community, and it makes the accuracy of a laboratory notebook critical for a patent’s successful defense in litigation.

When many scientists are working on the same type of research, which is frequent in medical fields, it is possible for more than one team to come up with a similar breakthrough. This can be a breakthrough in drug research, a vaccine, or a diagnostic tool, and if more than one team applies for a similar patent, the dates that the research was performed may play heavily into the legality of one team’s claim on the patent.

Keeping detailed, chronological laboratory notebooks helps scientists to prove when their research was performed. In order to make these notebooks reliable in court, they must be permanently bound, dated, and all notes must be taken with ink. Each researcher on a team should have individual notebooks, which can be used to show uniformity with dates and discoveries. These notebooks hold the key to protecting a patent and your intellectual property.

The litigation process for patents and intellectual property can be a lengthy and complicated one. By keeping an accurate laboratory notebook for all of your research, you can give your team the best chance at defending your ideas and maintaining all applicable patents.