WIPO PROOF: a new tool to safeguard your IP
On 27 May 2020 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched a new digital notarisation tool which allows users to obtain a tamper-proof evidence of the existence of any digital file at a specific point in time.
Such digital evidence might not be necessary for all intellectual assets, however, having such proof on hand might for instance become valuable in infringement or litigation cases, for example to prove the existence of a specific copyrighted work prior to the alleged infringing work.
What can you use it for?
WIPO PROOF can be used for any digital file in any format. The content of the file can be classified into one of nine different categories such as creative design, creative work or data and especially trade secrets and know-how.
For example, one might record the status of a musical work or a prototype of a product, which is still at the development stage, where filing for the actual IP right application does not make sense yet.
How does it work?
WIPO PROOF is accessible via https://www.wipo.int/wipoproof/en/.
Being a part of WIPO’s online service tools, the impression and handling is quite similar to the other tools and thus, very user friendly.
It is important to note that the service does not require the upload of the digital file itself. Instead, a local browser will create a unique “digital fingerprint” (hash) of the file which will be uploaded together with a digital time print. The tamper-proof token for this specific file will then be created based on this data using a digital encryption technology.
While no WIPO account is necessary to access WIPO PROOF, it is required for payment purposes.
The costs per token amount to CHF 20, but discounts are offered in the form of bundles and may be negotiated.
Once verified, it is possible to obtain a premium certificate for a token, which can be downloaded and printed if needed.
The verification of the token is free of charge. At the time of verification, the digital file is compared to the file connected to the token. In case the file has been modified in the meantime, verification will fail.
Why use WIPO PROOF?
Even though WIPO PROOF does not replace protection provided by IP right registrations, it is an innovative way to complement your IP portfolio and to safeguard intellectual asset that may not (yet) be protected by any IP right. In particular, where a right cannot be registered, such as copyrights or trade secrets, WIPO PROOF can constitute a real benefit. Moreover, it may also be used for documentation purposes, for example, in connection with non-disclosure agreements to show that the information was already available prior to entering into the agreement.
In a time with a rapidly increasing importance of digitalisation, the introduction of such a tool is very welcome. Thus, it is also quite conceivable that other national IP offices might institute something similar in the future.
For access and more information on WIPO PROOF please visit the WIPO website:Read more