Timestamping

Certified time stamping of your Creations.
A simple first step to securing your rights

Developing and using your ideas, creations and innovations inevitably means sharing valuable and sensitive information with a variety of different parties. Whilst different ways of legal protection may be advisable, a simple and reliable proof of creation, integrity and ownership of your creations enables you to safely use them now and furnishes you with the evidence you need to defend and enforce your rights in the future.

Certified time stamping based on Blockchain technology as offered via P&TS provides just that, a simple, rapid and secure way to prove that the your creations or information exist at the date of their registration:

– It is secure and absolutely private with a cryptographic layer ensuring that only
you have visibility and access to your unencrypted information.

– It is highly resilient to tampering due to its decentralized structure.

– It provides you with legally-recognized electronic signatures and certificates of your
registered documents, creations and information, putting you in a strong position to safely
use and share your registered assets in order to create value.

While most of your artistic creations, such as litterary works, visual creations, paintings, drawings, (3D) models, photographs, computer-generated images, performances, musical creations, films, broadcasts, etc are auomatically protected from the date of their creation, either by copyright or by neighbouring rights, you may want to secure irrefutable proof of this date in order to be able to prevent third parties from copying your work.

To this end legally-recognized and certified time stamping of your filed documents in the tamper-resistant Blockchain registry as offered via P&TS provides you with the required evidence.

Some information (in particular pertaining to certain methods, processes and procedures, improvements, etc.) is best protected by secrecy, in case patents or other registered Intellectual Property Rights cannot provide sufficiently long or strong protection for the particular asset. Choosing the trade secret path of protection does not come without its risks :

Firstly, a trade secret is only protected for as long it remains secret, which implies following rigourous procedures when handling the secret information. Secondly, if your competitor develops the secret information or process independently, you have no means to stop him from using it.

But most importantly, if your competitor files for patent protection of an independently developed similar procedure or method, you may be prevented from using your own trade secret, unless you can prove that you created, owned and used it before the blocking patent was filed.

Moreover, proof of your trade secret’s existence at a certain point in time may be required if you suspect theft of the trade secret by competitors or former employees. This is where time stamping helps to ensure that you are well prepared for potential disputes, or to avoid them altogether.

Time stamping certificates provided via P&TS establish tamper-resistant, irrefutable proof of existence and integrity, as well as evidence of ownership of your trade secrets at the date of their registration.

Time stamping your invention disclosures before filing establishes tamper-resistant, irrefutable proof of existence and integrity, as well as evidence of ownership of your invention at the date of their registration. This proof may be useful if for example a competitor files for patent protection of a similar invention before you file your own application, in order to establish prior use rights. It is also often used in collaborations, in order to establish the contribution of each party before and during the collaboration.

Also, even though you know that you must not publish or share your invention with third parties in advance of the first filing date of your patent application, you may want or need to share some information pertaining to it with a selected third party under a Confidentiality Agreement or CDA. Time stamping provides you with added protection for this disclosure (see section Confidentiality Agreements).

A combination of your patented invention with thematically-related trade secets is a popular and strong way to secure your intellectual assets. Certify your trade secrets by time stamping to reinforce their protection (see section on Trade Secrets).

Whatever the nature of your business, research or creative interest, if you to engage with external parties, you may have to share sensitive information about your interests as well as your intangible assets. In order to prevent external parties from using this information for their own commercial purposes and to avert further diffusion of the information, you should agree on how sensitive information needs to be handled as part of a Confidentiality Agreement (also called CDAs or Non-Disclosure Agreements, NDAs).

CDAs allow you to safely share your information with third parties. However, CDAs can be disputed. It is therefore highly advisable to time stamp and certify information shared under a CDA in order to prevent disambiguities and potential conflicts regarding the extent and the details of shared information.

Trademarks, which need to be registered, protect names, symbols, colours, particular sounds, or catch phrases, etc, which consumers associate with the company, its products and values. By preventing your competitors from using your registered trademarks, you can preclude others from taking advantage of the trusted relationships your company has established with its stakeholders and the goodwill it has generated. But you must use your trademark in order to maintain your monopoly rights in any given jurisdiction or country.

To this end, time stamping certification can provide you with the evidence you need to demonstrate that you used your trade mark in a country at a given time in order to defend and maintain your rights and market position.

No matter in which way you protect your intellectual assets, information or secrets, you may be required to provide evidence that your asset existed at a given point in time and that you used it commercially in order to maintain your monopoly rights or your rights to continue to use the assets.

As a general principle, Intellectual Property Rights grant you the right to prevent others from using your protected asset or creation. However, if you do not use them your rights may be questioned or, in the worst case, withdrawn.

Proof of prior use of the asset may also be required to defend yourself against blocking patents which seek to prevent you from using your own asset, as you would infringe the patent by doing so. In order to secure your right to continue to use your asset, you need to demonstrate, that you have commercially used it before the allegedly infringed patent was filed.

For the scenarios mentioned above, and for any other requirement to demonstrate prior use of your asset, time stamping documentation demonstrating use of your asset can establish invaluable evidence to successfully defend your rights. Your documentation is time stamped and certified at the date of its submission to the tamper-resistant Blockchain registry via P&TS.

CONTACT

Claudia Nash

Tech Transfer and Patent Specialist