Beyond the laboratory Building a Smart Laboratory 2017

Similarly, the use of generic systems for such a task can increase discovery concerns and also increase the likelihood of problems. Further guidance should be sought from records management personnel and legal advisors within the organisation, in order to determine policy. A recommended approach to help uncover

and resolve legal/patent concerns is to work with the company’s lawyers and patent attorneys to simulate the presentation of ELN evidence in the courtroom, and then work back to the creation of that evidence in the laboratory.

The America Invents Act – implications

Patent-reform legislation, in the form of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act 2011, changed the US system from First to Invent to First to File in March 2013. It is very tempting to view this change as an opportunity to relax some of the procedural requirements of ELNs used in research laboratories. However, there are clauses in the Act

that would suggest it’s wise not to make such an assumption. It is likely that patent

“To support the human work, we also need to provide automation in the form of integrated laboratory instrumentation”

interferences and interfering patent actions will continue for many years for patents and applications filed aſter March 2013. [13] Tere are specific circumstances described

in the America Invents Act that, for example, require proof of inventive activities to remove prior art for joint research activities, or to preserve the right to an interference if the application contains, or contained at any time, a claim to an invention filed before March 2013. Until the act becomes effective, and there is clarification about the implications of the new legislation, there is no reason to change in-house procedures for keeping laboratory notebooks, or for vendors to revise the procedures and workflows in their ELN

products. Te more immediate concerns are: l Tere is a loophole that will allow people to prosecute a patent under the old First to Invent rules for many years to come. First to File isn’t dead even aſter 16 March 2013


– there are some changes that mean proof of inventive activities will be especially important for joint research activities. Te retention of other documentation related to joint research projects may need to improve; and

l Derivation proceedings will also require proof of inventorship.

To add further uncertainty, there’s always a chance (or indeed probability) that things are going to end up in the US Supreme Court to examine the constitutional implications of a move away from First to Invent. So it does appear that the new Act makes legally robust, signed, and witnessed records of inventive activities (generally in the form of lab notebooks) even more critical. With a move to ‘First to File’ there’s the additional pressure of getting to the Patent Office quickly, which means it is necessary to start paying attention to the patent filing process, which has historically not been under much time pressure.

Data integrity, authenticity and management

Whenever electronic records are used within the framework of legal or regulatory compliance, data integrity and data authenticity are fundamental requirements of the computer systems used to create, manipulate, store and transmit those records. Tese requirements may also apply to in- house intellectual property (IP) protection requirements. It will therefore be necessary for a laboratory informatics implementation project to very carefully consider the specific requirements of their organisation in this area. [14] Te characteristics of trustworthy

electronic records are: l Reliability – the content must be trusted as accurate;

l Authenticity – records must be proven to be what they purport to be, and were created and transmitted by the person who purports to have created and transmitted them;

l Integrity – must be complete and unaltered, physically and logically intact; and

l Usability – must be easily located, retrieved presented and interpreted.

Data integrity, in a general sense, means that data cannot be created, changed, or deleted without authorisation. Put simply, data integrity is the assurance that data

is consistent, correct and accessible. Data integrity can be compromised in a number of ways – human error during data entry, errors that occur when data is transmitted from one system to another, soſtware bugs or viruses, hardware malfunctions, and natural disasters. Tere are many ways to minimise these threats to data integrity including backing up data regularly, controlling access to data via security mechanisms, designing user interfaces that prevent the input of invalid data, and using error detection and correction soſtware when transmitting data. Data authenticity is the term used to

reinforce the integrity of electronic data by authenticating authorship by means of electronic signatures and time stamping. Generally speaking, electronic signatures are considered admissible in evidence to ensure the integrity and authenticity of electronic records. An electronic signature is a generic term used to indicate ‘an electronic sound,

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