WIPO PROOF: Launch of new online service to create trusted tamper-proof evidence through timestamps

30 June 2020 | blog

Companies spend a lot of time and money creating, innovating and protecting their intellectual property. When the protection fails due to unavailable or insufficient evidence, the frustration is understandably high. 

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has therefore launched its new global online service WIPO PROOF. Whether you want to create evidence of trade secrets, scripts, musical scores, software, textile designs, or lyrics, producing trusted tamper-proof verifiable evidence of the existence of intellectual property at a certain point in time has never been so easy. The WIPO acts as a time-stamping authority by issuing a token – a unique digital fingerprint of a digital file – dated and timestamped the second it is created. Once the token is created, you receive it right away and another copy is stored securely on WIPO servers in Switzerland, but kept completely confidential. When the evidence is needed to prove the existence of the digital assets, the token can then be verified by anyone. Interestingly, the solution is not based on blockchain technology like other products; the WIPO rather acts as a trusted authority.

To create a token, you need a WIPO account, the digital file and a payment method. One token costs CHF 20 but the WIPO also offers bundled deals. If confirmation of the validation process is needed, the premium certificate costs another CHF 20.

There have been national services that have offered to create timestamps. However, according to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, the evidence created through WIPO PROOF is more credible, as the WIPO is an impartial international organisation.

In practice, such solutions seem to be particularly relevant for companies that would like to safeguard evidence to prove when their intellectual property started to exist. Possible use cases could be:

  • Copyright: earlier existence (and thereby to indicate authorship) of a copyright protected work;
  • Design: earlier existence of a new product design sketches to argue bad faith of an apparently copying competitor;
  • Trademarks: archives for documenting use or reputation of a trademark at a certain point in time;
  • Patents: documenting prior use for arguing a right of prior use in defence against patent infringement claims;
  • Trade secrets / know-how: prior existence of information within the company already before a confidentiality agreement was entered into.

Further information on WIPO PROOF can be found on the WIPO's website: https://www.wipo.int/wipoproof/en/

Michael Woller

Partner

T: +43 1 534 37 50308
m.woller@schoenherr.eu

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Marie Hornyik

Associate

T: +43 1 534 37 50258
m.hornyik@schoenherr.eu

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