Failure to keep an Inventor’s Notebook

Because the United States is a first-to-invent system, disputes often arise between those who claim that they are the first inventor of an invention. In fact, the Patent Office administers an interference proceeding to determine the true inventor when two more patent applications from different parties claim the same invention.

Typically, inventors would benefit from utilizing an Inventor’s Notebook to accurately account for their progress while developing the invention. In my experience, a spiral notebook works well because it does not allow one to add or remove pages without it being readily known by others. Note, it is tough to add pages to a spiral notebook and a judge can determine if pages have been removed by performing a page count of the notebook and comparing it to the number of pages originally provided by the notebook manufacturer (typically indicated on the front cover of the notebook). Inventors should document all major and minor milestones and append dates to each entry.