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Launch of digital asset fingerprinting set to offer enhanced intellectual property protections

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A new online digital fingerprinting service has been launched to help protect designs and innovations from copycat misuse.  Torion Bowles, Partner and Solicitor in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution department, explains more as to why this service has been launched, who is set to benefit from the new concept and why intellectual property continues to change in our digital world.

How will this protect my IP?

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation and is a specialised agency of the United Nations.  Their new online business platform, known as WIPO PROOF, is designed to safeguard intellectual assets by creating date and time-stamped digital fingerprints when information is uploaded.

Owners of the assets receive tamper-proof evidence to safeguard every stage of the development cycle through to commercialisation.  The aim is to speed up any subsequent litigation over copyright, design or patent, by recording and confirming each stage.  

The platform can protect any intellectual outputs that can be generated in the form of a digital file.  This could protect designs and other creative ideas through to data training sets for algorithms or research results.   It enables trade secrets to be recorded, or concepts and ideas to be easily shared without concerns over misuse.  

Registrable Intellectual Property rights

Torion explains, “This has far reaching effects in protecting intellectual property from misuse or misappropriation, which can be particularly important where the assets themselves may not satisfy the requirements for registrable or unregistrable IP rights at a point in time.”

Registrable IP rights are rights that require registration to secure protection; unregistrable rights cannot be registered and rights arise automatically through usage.

Torion added, “In our increasingly digital world, and increased collaboration, there is a heightened risk that security of IP may be breached, so anything that creators can do to protect themselves is important.  This development has implications for a wide range of situations.  For example, a concept for a television show could be ‘fingerprinted’ before ideas are shared with a broadcaster; or in situations such as tech development or scientific research, where originators wish to open up their ideas to shared development, the original concept can be secured before doing so.” 

How should I act if I suspect someone has breached my intellectual property?

There are certain creations that form a part of your business that differentiate you from your competitors, for example your design or logo, as well as other concepts such as a particular invention or product.  You can have these protected via the use of patents, copyrights and trademarks and if you feel another party has breached those by copying an element of your IP, there are steps you can take to challenge this.  We can discuss with you whether you have a claim to initiate legal proceedings or whether alternative dispute resolution would be beneficial.

We can also discuss with you how you can strengthen your protections to avoid similar concerns arising in the future. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the WIPO PROOF concept, WIPO have produced a simple infographic showing how the new process works.  Alternatively, you can contact Torion today on 023 8071 7455 or email to discuss your IP requirements.


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.