Since the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) was passed by Congress and was signed into law by President Obama in September 2011, the clock has been ticking on the current ‘First-to-Invent’ system. This will be a major change for US scientists, especially those working across the spectrum of research and development (R&D).
The new system means that patents will be granted in line with a new ‘First-to-File’ approach rather than rewarding the first person to make the discovery. So — failing a spectacular last minute change of heart — patents will be awarded according to the speed of an application. This radical departure will mean the main focus no longer rests on documented data but shifts the emphasis on getting information together and into a format ready to file with the patent office — fast! This could also include any associated results necessary to support a claim.
This presents a major problem. If, for example, you have a new drug substance to file, the chances are that your data set will not be homogenous. It will have to be manually pulled together from a huge range of disciplines. Ask anyone who has ever done that, and they’ll tell you that it can take weeks of serious effort. This is where electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) earn their keep.
IDBS’ E-WorkBook has the ability to span a vast range of diverse disciplines and pull them together — often in just a few hours. To put it simply, what SAP does for business process, E-WorkBook does for the R&D process. The concept of IDBS providing integrated business processes was mentioned recently by international growth strategy consultants and researchers,Frost and Sullivan:
However, it’s not just advanced reporting capabilities that will become crucial. The ability to help prove the factual basis of an application should also help manufacturing to commence at the earliest possible moment.
If speed determines the ultimate success (or failure) in patent filing, being able to harness the right information at the right time in the right format is set to become more crucial than ever.