(July 1, 2020) On May 27, 2020, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced a new service called WIPO PROOF, which reportedly provides evidence of the existence of digital files in any format at a point in time in order to document their authorship.

According to WIPO, because creative activities are increasingly digital, global, and collaborative, they generate a wide array of data files containing valuable content throughout the production process. This content is produced in a wide variety of intellectual property projects, including trade secrets, scripts, musical scores, research results, data sets, and artificial intelligence algorithms.

To prevent their misappropriation, it is helpful for these outputs to be documented at every step of development, regardless of whether they eventually become formal intellectual property rights.

PROOF aims at helping creators take verifiable steps to safeguard these outputs of their work by generating tamper-proof evidence proving that a digital file was created at a specific point in time and hasn’t been altered since then. PROOF’s fee-based technology creates a token (i.e., a date- and time-stamped digital fingerprint of a file or data) that can be used as evidence in a legal dispute to establish prior existence, thus helping prevent misuse and misappropriation.

The benefits of using PROOF’s applications for intellectual property projects include the following:

  • The use of the applications in trade secret strategies to certify the existence of a file or data at a specific point in time concretely demonstrates that the file or data has value and steps have been taken to protect it.
  • The ability to prove the existence of creative works at the time of creation is fundamental to protecting them from potential misappropriation or infringement.
  • The employment of PROOF to manage valuable data sets, such as scientific research data or data for training AI models, is useful in that the existence and possession of each iteration of a data set can be formally documented in a matter of seconds.

Anyone can have access to PROOF’s secure website to obtain a token for a particular digital file through a one-way algorithm that interacts with the requester’s browser to generate a unique digital fingerprint of the file. Afterwards, third parties can verify such tokens on PROOF’s website, which provides evidence in the event of disputes and litigation over the existence of a digital file and its intellectual property rights.

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