Protect intellectual property thanks to the Blockchain

Blockchain and intellectual property rights

The rights related to intellectual property identify two types of rights : the “ registered rights ” (patent, brand, registered drawing) and the “ unregistered rights ” (copyright, business secrecy, know-how, trade name or trade dress)

The registered rights are generally protected by an accredited organization, such as “ INPI ” in France. When protecting intellectual property through an authorized organization, it is really simple to defend its rights in case of fraudulent use.

However, it is much more complex to protect its interests related to “ unregistered creations ”. In most cases, the creation hasn’t been anchored or certified : thus it is very hard to justify its existence before a judge, in the event of a dispute.

Benefit of the Blockchain to authenticate unregistered rights

For this category of rights, the incurred risk by companies is much more important. A recent example shows it again, as Teradata an American company has filed a lawsuit against SAP, the German software company in June 2018. Teradata is pleading a “ trade secret diversion, the infringement of copyright and antitrust laws ”. In any case, this type of litigation can cause severe damages for both companies.

The benefit of Blockchain authentication is to protect the rights associated to any creation, through a decentralized process. The proof created doesn’t depend on any third party (i.e. authorized organization) unlike actual solutions, and can be directly verified on the Blockchain. This certificate is the first written evidence and is accepted by a judge, as well as an email.

Functioning of Blockchain authentication

The Blockchain authentication is simply adding the digital footprint of a creation on the Blockchain. The creation itself is never registered on the Blockchain. The anteriority and integrity of the creation are guaranteed without its content being disclosed to anyone, even to Datatrust. Our service only keeps the digital footprint and will never store the creation without your agreement.

In practical terms, the Blockchain authentication will allow any company to produce as evidence in court of law :

  • The author of the authentication identity
  • The time and hour of the authentication
  • The creation footprint

These 3 essential informations will be automatically created during the authentication process. A certificate of integrity will let the judge verify the validity of the informations. Any creation can then be authenticated, whatever its format (PNG, JPEG, PSD…)

If you are interested about this process, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We will take the time to analyze your needs and to answer all your questions.

5 questions to understand Blockchain certification

5 questions pour comprendre la certification blockchain

A blockchain is a digital register which keeps history of transactions between individuals and thus makes it possible to check who owns what at what moment. Originally, Blockchain technology was first used by Bitcoin to allow virtual currency exchanges. Blockchain register can however be used well beyond this application, in particular to certify the integrity of digital files.

➤ Find out in 5 Q&As how blockchain certification works :

1/ What is Blockchain technology ?

A blockchain must be considered as a database which preserves history of the information which is registered there and which benefits from 3 essential properties :

  • Resilience: a blockchain register is decentralized, being replicated on different nodes (similar to servers, but with characteristics specific to decentralized networks). As a result, information remains accessible even in case of a node failure.
  • Transparency: information registered on a blockchain is accessible everywhere, at any time, by all its users.
  • Forgery-proof: information entered cannot be modified nor deleted.

2/ How is Blockchain technology used to certify data and digital files?

Blockchain technology is used as an “e-notary”: its unforgeable register makes it possible to state for sure what the state of a data was at a moment T.

3/ What information is available on the blockchain?

Digital files and data are not directly written to the blockchain. Only their digital fingerprint, a unique hexadecimal sequence of characters, is written on the blockchain.

This digital fingerprint alone does not make it possible to find the initial file; it is the association of the digital file and the digital fingerprint written on the blockchain which makes it possible to affirm that the file has indeed been certified. Thus, even confidential documents can be certified on the blockchain.

Blockchain certification process
Blockchain certification process

4/ What is the point of using Blockchain technology to certify data and digital files ?

A blockchain, as a decentralised, resilient and forgery-proof registry enables integrity certificates to be generated in minutes, in a secure manner and at a lower cost than existing solutions such as the e-soleau envelope, which requires the certified content to be revealed to third parties.

Moreover, evidence created on a public blockchain will never be erased, even if your certification provider were to disappear, the evidence would remain accessible.

5/ What is the legal value of a blockchain certification?

Today, the certification of a digital file on a blockchain  constitutes the beginning of a proof, like an email. Thus two conditions must be respected:

1. Guarantee the identity of the person who initiated the certification

2. Keep a certified version of the file

The certificate established on blockchain will allow before a judge to prove the integrity and the anteriority of a data or digital file.

Some examples :

Sectors of activity concerned are numerous. Here is a selection with concrete examples:

> Fashion and Luxury: design and model certification

Today, designs and models are registered at the INPI once completed. Before they are filed, they are carefully protected by specific security rules. Sometimes, however, these designs are usurped and used by counterfeiters. In this case, the certification of the stages of the creation process and the production of these certificates will make it possible, by being presented before a judge, to prove which company is really at the origin of the creation of a design.

Knowing that manufacturers in the sector are faced with a dilemma: to sell their new fabrics or models, they have to show them, but to reveal them is also to expose them to copying.

> Health: certification of digital medical prescriptions

Digital medical prescriptions have been allowed since 2004 (see excerpt from the law), but they are not currently used, particularly because solutions to certify integrity of this data are costly and complicated to implement.

Blockchain certification is a solution to this problem: it would allow a pharmacist or a health professional to verify the integrity of a document presented by a patient and to ensure that this digital document was indeed written by a health professional.

> Public sector: certification of K-BIS extracts

In 2017, we developed a Blockchain certification solution for the Canton of Geneva to verify integrity of a KBIS. When a company requests KBIS, it can request a digital version free of charge. Thus, in addition to KBIS, the company receives an integrity certificate which allows these interlocutors to verify the integrity of the document and to verify that the document has indeed been issued by the canton of Geneva.

Order extract Canton Geneva KBIS
Order extract Canton Geneva KBIS

About Datatrust

Datatrust is a digital file certification solution that uses blockchain technology. Our platform has been designed to fit the needs of large companies, law firms and startups. Datatrust allows them to certify their data in a few clicks and edit a certificate in PDF format.

Consult our offers or Request a Demo

GDPR : 4 purposes of the Blockchain authentication

RGPD et Blockchain

Since the 25th May of 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation is implemented in France and in the European Union. These regulations aim to establish a certain frame towards the use of personal datas, thanks to the creation of new rights for the users. Among all these rights we can state : the right to information (inform an individual about the use of its personal data), the access right (the possibility for an individual to ask informations about processing personal data) and the right to oblivion (the possibility for an individual to request the data erasure).


From these rights, many obligations arise for the companies. These obligations are recalled in this document written by the Freedoms and Computer Correspondent of the CNRS. In this article, we have identified the obligations that can be processed by the use of the Blockchain as a “virtual notary” to certify data or digital files.

In order to understand the Blockchain authentication and the following points, you can start reading our previous article about the 5 questions to understand Blockchain certification.

1/ Evidence of the user consent

Using the Blockchain to create evidence of the user consent is the simplest use to put in place within companies. The objective is to create a proof of authenticity everytime the user consent is registered by a company. The Blockchain technology is very interesting in this case in order to dispose of a proof of integrity, time stamped and tamper-proof. This way a company can prove the user consent, by bringing the authentication certificate in front of a judge.

2/ Register of processing operations

By essence, the Blockchain is a decentralized record keeping system. This means that data isn’t stored on a unique server but duplicated on many different ones. Thus, the data registered on the Blockchain is immutable, it can’t be altered or erased afterwards.

When it comes to personal data, the data has to be encrypted though, so sensitive informations can’t be read by anyone. This is automatically done by the Blockchain authentication.

3/ Integrity and confidentiality of personal data

The confidentiality of personal data is defined as the protection of data so it is not open to unauthorized outsiders. The confidentiality can’t be handled on the Blockchain, so it comes to companies to put in place the suitable safety measures, necessary to the protection of personal data.

However, the integrity of data can be dealt on the Blockchain. It is the central idea of the Blockchain authentication. The purpose is to create a digital footprint for every file, and to add it on a public Blockchain such as Ethereum, Bitcoin… (DataTrust use Ethereum). Therefore, once the footprint is registered on the Blockchain, companies possess a proof of integrity related to every data.

4/ Tracking the use of personal data

This method consists of registering into a public Blockchain the use of individuals personal data. This personal data is identified by a unique hash. Everytime this personal data is utilized, the hash is registered into the Blockchain with the following informations : who used the data ? how the data was used ? in what purpose ?

Adding these informations on the Blockchain will allow time stamping them, and having a certain date linked to the use of this data.

For all these use cases, companies can use DataTrust platform, our Blockchain authentication solution of data and digital files. It permits significantly reducing the costs comparing to a centralized solution.

Companies can choose to either use DataTrust platform or implementing the DataTrust API into their existing Information Systems. In both cases, our team will help and guide you in using DataTrust.

Blockchain technology : a response to the Directive on business confidentiality

Directive secret des affaires

Starting June 2018, companies will be able to protect their “valuable know-how and business information”, also known as business secrets, thanks to a European directive from June 8th, 2016. This directive will be transposed into French law by June 2018 at the latest. Therefore, protection of business secrecy will be legally strengthened.

The purpose of this directive is to build a uniform legal framework that allows companies to protect almost automatically confidential elements at the origin of an innovation and thus develop collaborations between economic actors of the member countries of the European Union.

I – What is business secrecy ? Legal definition

The European Commission defines business secrecy as “valuable know-how and business information, that is undisclosed and intended to remain confidential”. More specifically, it sets out three requirements for the validity of a business secret:

  • Requirement 1 : This information is secret in that “it is not […] generally known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question”.
  • Requirement 2 : “It has commercial value because it is secret”.
  • Requirement 3 : “It has been subject to reasonable steps under the circumstances, by the person lawfully in control of the information, to keep it secret”.

Examples include technological knowledge, business data related to customers or suppliers, business plans, strategic studies, and any other data or process that enables a company to make profit.

II – How to implement “reasonable steps” for the protection of business confidentiality?

Requirement 3 of the European Directive defines that the person must prove that the secret information defining business secrecy must have been subject to reasonable steps […] to keep it secret.

However, the order does not specify which reasonable steps must be taken to protect this secret information. Confidentiality agreements are one way of meeting this requirement. The computer security of confidential data is another. But beyond this technical protection, the first step consists in ensuring the proof of this secret information by time-stamping and certifying it.

In a concrete case, if an employee stole the models from company A before taking them to company B, how could he prove that company A was indeed at the author of the models ? Here, certification and time-stamping of the models by Company A would have proven to the judge that the models were stolen.

III – Blockchain technology to time-stamp and certify the integrity of business secret

Essentially, a blockchain is a digital register that operates without a central control body. On this register, there is no longer a need for a third party certifier such as a notary, the Soleau envelope, etc. which are responsible for creating certificates of authenticity; these can now be generated with a network of computers that store the proof of existence and integrity of a data.

This technology is of great interest to companies which see it as a digital data certification tool. It indeed allows to time stamp and create the proof of integrity of a data in a secure, durable and low cost way compared to existing solutions.

For business secrecy, it would be sufficient to write a description of all the confidential information that characterizes it and to create their digital fingerprint, equivalent to the fingerprint but for data: each data has its own digital fingerprint. If text data on a PDF document is changed by even a comma, its digital footprint will be completely different. This digital fingerprint is then added to the blockchain, allowing it to be time-stamped and guaranteeing its integrity.

Datatrust is a digital file certification solution that uses blockchain technology. Our platform has been designed to fit the needs of large companies, law firms and startups. Datatrust allows them to certify their data in a few clicks and edit a certificate in PDF format.

Consult our offers or Request a Demo