How WIPO PROOF can be useful tool for trademark owners?

Pursuant to art. 1321 of Polish Industrial Law, trademark protection rights are not granted for signs the use of which infringes personal or economic rights of third parties. This is one of the relative grounds for refusal of trademark registration. The opposition or invalidation motion may be based on this ground. One of the economic rights of third party that can be the base to oppose or invalidate Polish trademark might be a copyright.

The copyright arises automatically upon creation of work and is not subject to registration. As a general rule, the copyright belongs to the author of the work. The copyrights owner is authorized to decide on the exploitation of the work and to gain financial benefits from it. However,

To base an opposition or invalidation motion on copyright infringement, it is necessary to prove the existence of copyright and that the opponent is the copyright owner. In Poland there is no copyright register, so in most cases it is not possible to present the copyright certificate. Usually parties present agreements, affidavits, or testimonials to prove the existence, moment of creation and shape of work. In most cases, parties argue about the shape of work or point in time when it was created. The fact that work was created in a particular form at a specific point in time is often difficult to prove. Collecting the evidence may be time consuming and generate costs. Proving existence of copyright is usually connected with long-lasting battel with unsure result.

WIPO introduced new service called WIPO PROOF that provides a date- and time-stamped digital fingerprint of any file, proving its existence at a specific point in time. WIPO PROOF can be used to safeguard any digital file, of any size, whether it is numeric, image, executable, text or audio-visual. It shall be noticed that WIPO PROOF is not and does not replace the IP registration systems. It produces tamper-proof evidence that can be used to prove that a digital file existed at a specific point in time that can be helpful in IP related disputes, including trademark disputes.

The WIPO PROOF system does not require sending the file to external WIPO servers at any stage or any other form of reading its content by an external entity. On the basis of the data of the file saved locally in user’s browser, a unique token is generated with an assigned digital stamp confirming the date of its generation. Token data is stored by the WIPO for 5 years. Before expiration of the storage period, WIPO will offer extended token storage options.

The cost of obtaining WIPO PROOF token is CHF 20. All WIPO PROOF tokens can be verified online for free and a WIPO account is not required to verify tokens. WIPO also offers the option of purchasing a certificate of authenticity of the token, in the form of a pdf document signed by the organization for a price of CHF 20.

WIPO PROOF may be treated as an additional element of IP management strategy. Both tokens and certificates would be helpful in proving the existence of a copyright at a specific moment of time and demonstrate that the file has not been modified since it was created. The fact that the token and certificate is granted by a credible international organization as WIPO, increases the value of the document.

Bearing in mind difficulties connected with proving the existence of copyrights in Poland, document confirming that the work in defined shape existed in specific moment of time shall be very useful in any trademark proceeding. It may be useful tool when filing opposition or invalidation motion before Polish Patent Office based on infringement of copyrights.

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