The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has recently launched a new service, WIPO PROOF, which can be used to apply a secure timestamp to a digital file. This timestamp can be used to prove that the digital file existed at a particular date.
IP assets are increasingly being generated digitally during the innovation life cycle. In some cases, digital assets cannot be protected through conventional registered IP rights such as patents. In other cases, it is desired to keep digital assets as trade secrets. These situations can cause problems in legal disputes when there is a disagreement about the date that a digital file was created.
WIPO PROOF is a service that can be used to provide proof of the date that a digital file existed. The new service uses public key infrastructure technology to securely assign a date and a time to a file, and to ensure that the date and time assigned to a file cannot be tampered with. It is important to note that WIPO PROOF is not a registry of created work and a user does not upload digital files to WIPO PROOF. Instead, WIPO only stores the token that is generated by the public key infrastructure process. The WIPO PROOF process is confidential and there is no public knowledge of the existence of the file that is timestamped.
There are many possible uses for WIPO PROOF. For example, the service could be used to establish the date that a design was first created, for the purpose of enforcing an unregistered design right. The service could also be used by a company to assign a secure timestamp to evidence that they might use in a prior use defence if they are keeping a process as a trade secret.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.