Considering Intellectual Property Protection in a Chemistry Lab

ELN

chemistry IP
Protect your chemistry intellectual property with the help of an ELN.
Image Source: Bruno Colméia via Wikimedia Commons

Do you ever get so involved in your day-to-day work and processes that you sometimes forget the big picture? Emails, experiments and data collection can be so overwhelming that at the end of the day (or week) you maybe haven’t stopped to think about what you’re actually working toward. For some chemists, the pursuit of knowledge may be all that is needed to keep pushing on. But for any firm making a product, there are tangible outcomes that need to be secured. The inventions or works generated by a firm through these creations of the mind are referred to as intellectual property (IP), and intellectual property protection is a crucial aspect of lab security. Often a firm’s most valuable resource, IP can fortunately be protected by claims to copyrights, innovations and product designs, among other things.

A claim to IP doesn’t necessarily guarantee protection, however. Nations maintain their own IP standards, and protection in one country doesn’t guarantee protection in another. Firms in the chemical industry seem to face particular challenges in securing intellectual property protection. For example, firms may underestimate the ability of another firm’s claim to halt their own processes. In nations with “first-to-file” patent systems in place, the inventor who files a claim first gains IP protection. Therefore, failure to file claims in a timely manner can result in another firm receiving rights to make a product and your firm losing all rights to make the product for 20 years!

The best way to stay on top of your firm’s IP is to know what you have in your pipelines. An electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) can help keep your scientists and projects efficiently organized so that you can be prepared to file for chemistry IP protection as early as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using an ELN:

Permanent digital record

Probably the most important factor in supporting your claim to inventorship is the ability to show that you came up with the idea, put it to work and have witnesses supporting your claim. An ELN provides comprehensive support for all of these practices. Should the need arise, users can provide a permanent digital record of every crucial step of the process of development. Workflow alerts and digital signatures ensure that witnessing takes place and is recorded as part of the digital file.

Sharing projects

For scientists in the trenches of new product development, it may be difficult to see just how productive a project has been. It can be helpful to share findings with another invested party in order to gauge where you are in the product creation timeline. An ELN allows users to assign granular access to projects and entries so that all relevant users can stay updated on project progress. Users can access the ELN from a secure web browser so that findings can be easily and quickly shared and the patent process started as soon as possible.

Improving efficiency

Of course, the meat of your IP is in the work itself. But even if you have a million dollar invention, nothing will come of it if, a) you don’t know you have it, and b) you don’t know where you have it. An ELN improves efficiency in your lab by streamlining workflows with comprehensive productivity features like experiment templates, quick access to frequently used protocols, and entry cloning. By providing a simple user interface, users can efficiently and accurately record experiments so that records can be complete.

Of course, the meat of your IP is in the work itself. But even if you have a million dollar invention, nothing will come of it if a) you don’t know you have it and b) you don’t know where you have it. An ELN improves efficiency in your lab by streamlining workflows with comprehensive productivity features like experiment templates, quick access to frequently used protocols and entry cloning. By providing a simple user interface, users can efficiently and accurately record experiments so that records can be complete. A comprehensive search function allows user to search notebooks by entry, project, keyword or date to ensure that no data is ever lost.

If your firm needs to improve and secure its chemistry intellectual property protection practices, consider implementing a best practice electronic laboratory notebook to help streamline the process. Visit our website to learn more about how the BIOVIA Notebook can help your lab protect its chemistry intellectual property.

4 thoughts on “Considering Intellectual Property Protection in a Chemistry Lab

  1. I never really realized how easy it was for someone to lay claim to someone else’s intellectual property just by filing paperwork ahead of them. It seems like even the smallest error can cause pretty serious harm. Kind of scary. It’s amazing people were ever able to get by without electronic records like these to back them up in court.

  2. An electronic lab notebook could certainly help satisfy the U.S. requirement that a patent be nonobvious. Having a record of how difficult the idea was to come up with could counteract a claim that the idea was too obvious to be patentable.

  3. Its really easy for someone to just lay claim to something someone worked so hard to discover. People that put in all the effort must make sure to protect themselves and their discovery.

  4. I agree. A secure, digital notebook with electronic witnessing and timestamps seems to be the best option for protecting IP.

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