In Europe and most countries, the rights to the invention belong initially to the first person to file a patent application (“first-to-file system”). Therefore, the application date is very important in the patent process. Prior to this date, no protection is provided and unfortunately it can happen that a company is overtaken and finds access to a technology blocked by a better-organized competitor. A right to exploit the invention can only be granted by proving that serious preparation was made with a view to exploit the invention, which is often difficult to prove when the invention has been kept confidential within the company.
There also exists a need to prove a date of creation in terms of copyright. In this case the work or the software is protected from the date of conception, but how can this be proved at a later date?
Various solutions exist to guard against these risks and to be able to prove at any time the conception of an invention, a software or an artistic work. The safest way is to deposit a copy of the creation at a notary. Costs are generally limited, however this is a cumbersome procedure, particularly for companies that create inventions or lines of code every day that are worth protecting.
A modern solution is proposed by the Bernstein company with which P&TS has an exclusive collaboration for Switzerland. Bernstein offers notarisation services for invention announcements based on blockchain technology, in order to establish irrefutably the possession of an invention or a work. The downloaded document remains confidential, but it is possible to prove at a later date that it existed at the date it was uploaded and that it has not been modified. It is also possible to request the publication of this document if required and to use it as a defensive publication to prevent a third party from obtaining a patent following this publication.
The platform is currently in a test phase and will be available from March or April 2017 on the P&TS site.