La regla del producto del cálculo diferencial es aún denominada "regla de Leibniz para la derivación de un producto". Además, el teorema que dice cuándo y cómo diferenciar bajo el símbolo integral, se llama la "regla de Leibniz para la derivación de una integral".
Desde 1711 hasta su muerte, la vida de Leibniz estuvo emponzoñada con una larga disputa con John Keill, Newton y otros sobre si había inventado el cálculo independientemente de Newton, o si meramente había inventado otra notación para las ideas de Newton.
Leibniz pasó entonces el resto de su vida tratando de demostrar que no había plagiado las ideas de Newton.
Actualmente se emplea la notación del cálculo creada por Leibniz, no la de Newton.
Leibniz is credited, along with Sir Isaac Newton, with the inventing of infinitesimal calculus (that comprises differential and integral calculus). According to Leibniz's notebooks, a critical breakthrough occurred on 11 November 1675, when he employed integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of a function y = ƒ(x). He introduced several notations used to this day, for instance the integral sign ∫ representing an elongated S, from the Latin word summa and the d used for differentials, from the Latin word differentia. This cleverly suggestive notation for the calculus is probably his most enduring mathematical legacy. Leibniz did not publish anything about his calculus until 1684. The product rule of differential calculus is still called "Leibniz's law". In addition, the theorem that tells how and when to differentiate under the integral sign is called the Leibniz integral rule.
Leibniz's approach to the calculus fell well short of later standards of rigor (the same can be said of Newton's). We now see a Leibniz proof as being in truth mostly a heuristic argument mainly grounded in geometric intuition. Leibniz also freely invoked mathematical entities he called infinitesimals, manipulating them in ways suggesting that they had paradoxical algebraic properties. George Berkeley, in a tract called The Analyst and elsewhere, ridiculed this and other aspects of the early calculus, pointing out that natural science grounded in the calculus required just as big of a leap of faith as theology grounded in Christian revelation.[relevant? – discuss]
From 1711 until his death, Leibniz's life was envenomed by a long dispute with John Keill, Newton, and others, over whether Leibniz had invented the calculus independently of Newton, or whether he had merely invented another notation for ideas that were fundamentally Newton's.
Modern, rigorous calculus emerged in the 19th century, thanks to the efforts of Augustin Louis Cauchy, Bernhard Riemann, Karl Weierstrass, and others, who based their work on the definition of a limit and on a precise understanding of real numbers. While Cauchy still used infinitesimals as a foundational concept for the calculus, following Weierstrass they were gradually eliminated from calculus, though continued to be studied outside of analysis. Infinitesimals survived in science and engineering, and even in rigorous mathematics, via the fundamental computational device known as the differential. Beginning in 1960, Abraham Robinson worked out a rigorous foundation for Leibniz's infinitesimals, using model theory. The resulting non-standard analysis can be seen as a belated vindication of Leibniz's mathematical reasoning.