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Module 2: How do I document discoveries?

Module 2: How do I document discoveries?

Establishing a timeline for your invention is important and it may influence patentability in the US and foreign countries. Your Technology Transfer Office will help you in developing a timeline.

Keep extensive notebooks that can be saved and tracked; these should include any facts or circumstances leading to the invention, drawings, figures, pictures, possible applications, advantages over what is already known, how it differs from current products, and any other relevant information.

  • The pages of the notebook should be permanently bound together and consecutively numbered and dated for any entries made.
  • On a regular basis, the pages should be signed and dated by the person or persons performing the work and by at least one witness.
  • Enough detail should be included so that someone else with similar skill and knowledge to the inventor (i.e. “one skilled in the art”) could repeat the work. Each of these attributes may play a part in proving the accuracy or authenticity of the invention.

Keep track of all information related to your invention

Keep information on submitted grants and dates of when the grants were submitted.

Keep track of any talks, posters or other public presentations that you give on the invention topic; this will affect your abilities and timeline for patenting in certain countries.

Keep note of when you first conceived of the invention even if you haven’t made, built, or tested it yet; conception means “formation in the mind of the inventor”.

Keep note of when you first reduced the invention to practice which means “the act of actually making the invention work for its intended purpose”; when did you make a prototype?

Sometimes it is not possible to reduce an invention to practice prior to submission of a patent application. In those situations, you could then describe in detail how an invention will work (That is called constructive reduction to practice).

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


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