The Inventor's Notebook

By Fred E. Grissom, David Pressman, Fred Grissom

One of the biggest mistakes inventors make is the failure to maintain adequate records for their inventions. This is often due to not understanding the vital importance of proper records from the standpoint of the U.S. patent laws. The law mandates that only the first and true inventor shall receive a patent.

The Inventor's Notebook is primarily designed to provide the inventor with the records you will need to legally prove you are the "first and true inventor". Please note that it does not offer legal advice. Only your patent attorney or a patent agent can advise you as to the current state of the law with regard to your specific invention. Also, to better understand and appreciate its purpose, you should also read and study a good up-to-date guide to patent law, such as David Pressman's Patent It Yourself.

In addition to providing the means to prove you are legally the first to invent, the Inventor's Notebook provides you with guidelines for making decisions regarding patentability, commerciality, and whether other paths could be taken -- e.g., keeping your invention a trade secret. The book is divided into four main parts -- a work diary, legal protection, marketing and financing.

The work diary section gives you examples of how to record your invention with regard to its conception, purpose, description, operation, novelty, prior art and what the advantages of your invention are. It stresses the importance of drawing a line through blank sections to prevent others from later claiming material was added after the page was prepared, dated and witnessed. Entries must be made in ink and pencil sketches should be photocopied. The proper method for adding photos is also given.

The legal section explains the importance of and how to make a prior art search. The term, "prior art", in patent law means any material that can be found that was on record before the date you conceived your invention and that might be used to deny your right to a patent. This includes prior patents, magazine articles, technical journals, books, catalogs, etc.
- Bil Bazik
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