The main purpose of the Inventor's Lab Book is to help you draw out your ideas on paper, explain what the product is and how it works, and then protect your ideas by having your drawings witnessed. This book will also come in handy for those of you who are constantly thinking of new inventions or even improvements to existing products. In my opinion, new inventions are in many ways comparable to new songs. With music, the artist might "think" that a certain song will be successful, however, they will never really know until it is actually recorded and offered for sale to the public. The inventing of new products works basically the same way, therefore, it is important that you record/document ALL of your ideas. You should do this a soon as possible... while it is still fresh in your mind. If you put it off for a few days, you might forget certain details about it, and then again... you might just forget it forever!
Now that you know how important it is to document and detail your drawings as soon as possible, let's now talk about how to use the special forms that are in the book. Obviously, you want to choose the form that best suits what idea/products that you have in mind. After choosing your form, the first thing to do is to "draw" your new products in the space provided. Next, You will need to "explain" your drawing, being as specific and detailed as you possibly can, even if it means using footnotes. (This is done by placing numbers near different sections of your drawing, and then referencing the number/section to the explanation of your drawing.) Once you have completed your drawing(s) and details, it is time to have them witnessed. This is done by showing and explaining your drawing(s) to your witnesses, making sure that they fully understand them, and then having them sign and date the form. In the event that you change the drawing or add something else to it (later), simply make the changes on the original form, and then date and initial the changes. You DO NOT have to do a new drawing if the changes are only minor. If you MUST do it all over, simply attach the initial form to your new and updated form. That's it! That's all there is to it.
Now that you understand how to use the forms correctly, let's talk about your witnesses. Your witnesses can and should be someone that is close to you, such as a family member, relative, or friend. If possible, you should have two witnesses per drawing. This is in the event that something happens to one of them, you would still have one witness (of your drawing) if you need them. For this same reason, you do not want to use the same witness/witnesses for ALL of your drawings. You should use as many different witnesses as you can in order to protect against this from happening. Hopefully, nothing would ever happen to your witnesses... but it could. You may have heard that the best way to protect your ideas is to draw out and document your ideas, get it notarized by a notary public, and then mail it to yourself. WRONG! This all sounds good, but "what if" you mailed in a patent, and at the same time, someone else mailed in a patent for the same product? If this happens, the Patent and Trademark Office will normally go with whichever person/patent that has the earliest postmark of when it was mailed. On the other hand, if you properly documented and dated your drawings("before" the postmark), and had a witness to back you up, then... YOU would be granted the patent! You see, the thing is, if you have your drawings notarized and sent to yourself through the mail... the Post Office will NOT go to court for you, where YOUR witnesses would! Chances are that your witnesses will never have to testify for you, but at least they'll be there IF you need them.
W.J. Scott Murphy