It seems logical that the first person to invent something would be the one to be granted a patent for it. But logic doesn’t really hold water when it comes to who gets a patent for an idea. A patent is only granted to the first applicant who has the proof, required by the law, to demonstrate that they were truly the first to invent the idea. Sadly, many entrepreneurs and independent inventors are not able to qualify for patents for their ideas due to the lack of record of sufficient evidence demonstrating they were the first to come up with the idea.
We at IDS don’t want you to fall in to that unfortunate situation. Therefore, we suggest that maintaining a comprehensive record of your idea or invention (also known as an idea notebook) is critical. For example, and inventor may need to prove exactly when the idea was invented or even when certain features or characteristics of the idea were invented. An idea notebook that chronicles your brainstorming process with extensive, high quality, legible, and appropriate proof of your idea will prove how you came up with the idea and defend an attempt to take the patent away from you.
How to Bring Your Invention to Life
In order to succeed in the patenting process and alleviate any doubts about the originality of an idea, you must be organized and document every important aspect of the process they took to creating your idea. Be sure to take a detailed record over the progression of an idea’s development by keeping notes.
Track email conversations, any research conducted, the development process an invention takes, refinements made during building and testing, any market calculations, a record of people who have signed confidentiality agreements with you – basically anything that can support the claim that the idea or invention is entirely and wholly that of the inventor.
There are many methods for maintaining records – it’s really up to your preferred style – but there are workbooks available that will help an inventor stay organized with worksheets and templates.
Another way to keep legal record of the lifespan of an invention is to have your invention recordkeeping notebook notarized. Notarization means that a qualified witness confirms and stamps the documents on a certain date to verify their validity. This date of record can come in handy if an inventor needs to prove certain aspects of their idea or design with a specific timeline.
Beyond the legal rationale for keeping records, we suggest you maintain logs and details while developing your idea simply to keep track of what’s been done and whether or not it worked. A notebook of drawings, contacts, successes and failures and more can be an extremely helpful tool for reference when submitting an idea or invention down the road.