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WIPO PROOF: Digital evidence for your intellectual assets

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On 27 May 2020, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched a new global online service that provides tamper-proof evidence of the existence at a point in time of any digital file, including data sets, in any format.


The service, known as WIPO PROOF, gives those who create digital output a tool to safeguard work which is not eligible, or not yet at a suitable stage, for registration as a formal IP right. As Covid-19 has arguably led to an increased digitisation of economic activity, and placed digital activity at the forefront of many business activities, it is an opportune moment to consider how such a service can benefit those with intellectual assets to protect, alongside WIPO’s existing services.

Why is it useful?

WIPO PROOF can be used to create evidence of the existence of an asset’s digital files at each specific point in time. This can help establish prior existence and prevent misappropriation and infringement of IP rights. For instance, when relying on copyright, the ability to prove existence of the work at the time of creation is essential to safeguard against infringement claims. For those organisations operating in a more data driven or scientific sphere, WIPO PROOF can be used to manage scientific research data or data for training AI models.

How does it work?

WIPO PROOF works by issuing a token for each specific digital file. A token is a date and time-stamped digital fingerprint (a hash) of the file or data. The technology used to create the token (Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology) means that the actual contents of the file are not read or stored by WIPO, only the hash. Tokens can be purchased either individually or in bundles. Once a token has been generated it is stored by WIPO to enable anyone to validate it. This process works by making a technical comparison between the hash of the original digital file and the hash contained in the WIPO PROOF token to see if they match.

What sort of digital files does it apply to?

Below are some examples of the types of intellectual assets that could be evidenced via WIPO PROOF:

  • trade secrets
  • creative works e.g. manuscripts and musical works
  • creative designs e.g. brand logos
  • software code
  • AI algorithms
  • scientific data
  • digitally signed business documents.

Further information on WIPO PROOF can be found on the WIPO website.

If you would like assistance with the process or advice on how best to protect your intellectual assets please get in touch with our Commercial team:

0800 923 2075     Email

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