labfolder and intellectual property protection

In this blog series, we will be giving you sneak peeks into our white papers. We wrote these white papers to support you, our scientists, in complying with standards and regulations, as well as in having the best quality data you can.

This installation covers how your intellectual property is protected while using a digital lab notebook. Want to know more? Read on!

To start off with, intellectual property is key for innovative organizations looking to patent and commercialize their inventions. In the past, the ‘first to invent’ principle governed patenting, but now it has shifted to the ‘first to file’. This shift is making the use of digital lab notebooks even more key in securing data.

Intellectual Property Protection and labfolder

  • European Patent Office (EPO)
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • Why would using a digital lab notebook be beneficial with regards to patenting?


European Patent Office (EPO)

In Europe, you can patent by country, but it is advisable to patent via the EPO, as you are then protected across many more countries. An invention is new and patentable if it does not form part of the state of the art, for which the EPO has a specific definition. Having mentioned the ‘first to file’ principle, this is the principle by which the EPO works.


United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

With the USPTO, the first person to register the patent and claim ownership is regarded as the inventor. There are however many possibilities and variations of the process that can complicate the system. The patent can be challenged if prior art exists, again for which the USPTO has its own definition. There are also requirements for prior art, which are: it is written and accessible, the content depicts the invention fully and these requirements must be fulfilled at least 12 months before the patent is applied for.

The main difference between the European and US office is the time within which the requirements need to be fulfilled. For the EPO the period is 6 months, whereas the USPTO specifies 12 months, as mentioned above. The white paper shows further differences.


Why would using a digital lab notebook be beneficial with regards to patenting?

With regards to the use of digital lab notebooks for intellectual property protection, we recommend four measures while using labfolder. The first is that you should store to-be-patented work in restricted-access areas, group projects should be confidential within the group and the project owners are defined. The second recommends that one should file for a patent as soon as the invention is fully developed. The resulting patents granted will then give ownership for the subsequent 20 years.

The other two recommended measures and some further insight into the EPO and USPTO can be read about in the white paper, which you will find in the button below!

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