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Companies should protect internal processes and systems by ensuring that comprehensive policies regarding intellectual property are in place. Engineers should understand the importance of maintaining daily logs and a paper trail of drawings, improvements and prototypes. The following record-keeping policies help ensure IP protection. • Engineers should make sure that daily logs and records are clear, concise and properly dated. An individual who understands the inventive matter must sign the pages to verify the content. • Drawings should be archived, regardless of whether they have been improved on at a later date. If inventorship is ever challenged in court, there may be no better way to illustrate the first, true inventor than by producing a series of drawings that show the metamorphosis of the concept. • Verify and prove all new engineering concepts with all departments they affect. The company must maintain its customer-driven innovation approach and cannot chance turning into an archaic manufacturing-driven company. • Set sights on innovating for the end user customer and working with marketing to develop and validate these new concepts. These guidelines may need to be modified to conform to the legal requirements of your jurisdiction. It in no way constitutes legal advice. Andy Gibbs is the founder and CEO of PatentCafe, the Internet’s largest intellectual property network. Bob DeMatteis is author of the book, “From Patent to Profit.” For information on purchasing the book, “Essentials of Patents,” click here.

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