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Notebooks and Publications

The information on this page provides a brief description of the best practices involved in innovation protection.  Additional resources including forms and links related to the innovation protection subject are available in the sidebar. 

Related Resources

Lab Notebook Guidelines

Laboratory Records

  1. Accurate documentation of the conception date of the invention, contributing inventors, and progress of ideas, experiments, and data are critical in establishing proof of first to invent, inventorship, and conception and reduction to practice dates in patent applications and issued patents.
    1. The first to invent is defined as the individual with initial conception (formation of the idea) of a novel process or product followed by due diligence in reduction to practice (how the idea would actually work).
  2. Reliable format to prevent claims of fraudulent insertion or deletion of entries includes:
    1. Use bound notebooks with pre-numbered pages;
    2. Sign full name and date on every page;
    3. Use ink when recording ideas and experiments;
    4. Use a single strike if anything is crossed out and initial as "strike-outs";
    5. Do not skip pages or leave empty spaces. Draw a line through any unused portion and initial and date the marking.;
    6. Initial across the edge of auxiliary material: i.e., figures and computer printouts that are pasted into the notebook;
    7. Do not place results printed on thermal paper in your notebook as it fades over time (copy the data and place it in the notebook);
    8. Digital records can be submitted as evidence of an invention, but it is highly recommended that these records be supported with written documentation; courts do not favor digital records;
    9. Label ideas or proposals to differentiate them from work actually performed;
    10. Have records "witnessed" with signature and date by someone who understands the content of the work on a weekly basis. The witness should not be a direct contributor to the work being reported;
    11. Try to preserve the "first samples" of new materials produced by new methods; and
    12. Retain records of purchase orders for components required for testing.

Public Disclosure

  1. Public disclosure often limits protection options for an innovation.
    1. Any delivery of inventive information to any group not protected by a confidentiality agreement (see Agreements) including posters, presentations, published grant applications or abstracts, abstract or article publication is considered a public disclosure.
      • Sponsor grant proposals that contain potential inventions must be designated as containing proprietary information in both the cover letter and in the footer of the pages that contain proprietary information (mark "Confidential and Proprietary Business Information of Boston College").