Having problems proving the existence of your intellectual assets? WIPO PROOF is here to help you!
At the end of May 2020, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced the launch of WIPO PROOF - a new online business service that provides tamper-proof evidence of the existence at a point in time of any digital file, including data sets, in any format. Why is this significant? Well, now you can easily and cheaply safeguard your valuable intellectual work, such as a product design, an invention or research data from the earliest stage of its development.
What is the WIPO PROOF tool?
As many modern solutions, WIPO PROOF originated as a response to the increasing globalisation and digitalisation of the economy. Just think about it - nowadays, it is common to create highly valuable assets online, whether it be software code, lyrics of a song or one’s contribution to a group research. While conducting business and other forms of economic activity digitally is highly efficient and convenient, it also has several vulnerabilities. One of them is that it can be very difficult to prove who is the owner of a particular piece of digital work, especially where many parties collaborated to achieve the final outcome. WIPO PROOF addresses this issue by allowing creators and inventors to generate special tokens which are tamper-proof evidence that a digital file existed at a specific moment in time. Thus, it helps assign the ownership of an intangible asset to its original author.
How can it help me?
Being backed by a reputable international organisation, WIPO PROOF tokens constitute firm and reliable evidence in legal disputes before the courts in nearly all countries. Depending on what legal interest you want to protect, the WIPO PROOF tool can assist you in many different ways.
First, it may help protect your copyright, which covers a wide range of creative output such as art, music or literary work and applies automatically – i.e. you do not have to register it. For instance, if you are a musician working digitally, generating a WIPO PROOF token every time your new song is produced will allow you to easily prove original authorship and hence prevent unauthorised use.
Second, WIPO PROOF can be invaluable in safeguarding your trade secrets. While these IP rights do not require registration, it is difficult to protect them precisely because they are kept secret. With the new tool you will finally be able to prove that you possessed and used your trade secret at a certain point in time.
Third, before obtaining a formal IP right such as a patent, you may create a significant amount of know-how and data. WIPO PROOF will help you safeguard these valuable digital assets from the earliest stage of their development.
You can see that with so many areas of potential application, WIPO PROOF is a powerful tool capable of preventing misuse and misappropriation of intangible assets. As such, it constitutes an important complement to the protection offered by the existing IP rights.
How does it work?
WIPO PROOF is widely accessible and easy to use. As a starting point, you will have to connect to the web application via https://ipportal.wipo.int/ and create your account. Then, you will have to choose a digital file in any format you want to protect. Subsequently, the WIPO PROOF tool will generate a unique digital fingerprint (a hash) of the file, timestamp it and safeguard it with a digital key. At the final stage it will produce a WIPO PROOF token which you will be able to download. This token will be an unalterable proof that your digital file existed at the point in time the token was created.
Importantly, the generation of such digital token does not cost a fortune. You can get a single digital fingerprint for as little as 20 CHF. Taking into account how much time and energy you spent on creating your intangible assets, and how much money they can generate in the future, it is wise to invest in their protection!
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