A forum for the support of robust mechanisms of evidence of ownership for intellectual property expressed in any medium

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probity.org promotes the open, public declaration of a claim of ownership. If everyone can witness your claim as it made then you should have less problem in asserting it later. Just as lottery promoters are keen to publish their results as 'widely witnessed events' to engender confidence in the rigour of their operation, you should be publishing something that signifies your work.

Of course, you do probably do not want to publish what the document says. What you must do is be able to show that you are in possession of some information which expresses the matters at issue at a particular time.

probity.org promotes the principle of cryptographic "hashing" to generate a short fixed-size digest for the material you have that you want to declare. These digests are rather larger than lottery numbers, but they appear to be similarly random. They are like fingerprints, each one characterising some original material and signifying its existence.

To create digests the material must be in digital form. This is very readily achievable today, examples being word-processor or PDF documents, digital camera images, video sequences, CAD drawings or audio files. All these types of data can be compressed down to a short sequence of digits which stand for your particular, unique work. When you register this you are telling the world that you have something of significance to you which is in your possession at that particular time. No one else can generate anything similarly meaningful at the same time.

It is impossible to regenerate the original material from the hash digest. This maintains confidentiality — all that is in the public domain is the digest of the material you have. To show that you had the material at the time the digest was made public you repeat the registration process on your original data. You stop short of doing a re-registration and you simply compare the hash with what was originally registered. Your claim should be believed if the digests match.

The hashing algorithm is so sensitive to your original data that it is as certain as it ever can be that you are the only person in the world that could have produced the same result at that time. Crucial to the scheme is having access to precisely the full, original data. It is vital that this is kept safely!

The hashing algorithms you will be using are among those used within the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for managing the certificates used for electronic signing of documents. The best cryptographers in the world have been involved in the design of these algorithms and they have been widely attested and are in wide use.

probity.org encourages use the web as its means of declaring your registrations as this is the most appropriate way of creating a widely witnessed event. In the past the methods were publishing in a newspaper, journal of public record or broadcasting. Doing this makes the declaration very resilient to repudiation because there are so many disinterested witnesses. It is infeasible to alter the declaration once made. For IP protection, laboratory notebooks have long been an acceptable form of prior art evidence, but the evidential requirements are very stringent. Provided these are met then the digests generated can be written in a lab notebook. Even better is that they appear in both the lab notebook and in the public domain as registrations.

probity.org was indeed named on the basis of the acronym;

Public Registration On the weB of Intellectual properTY
Do not be put off by the term 'intellectual property'. Protection of IP is a strong motivation but any document, however mundane, can be included within its scope — anything where it is important to be able to assert that it existed at a particular time.

Once you have explored this site further and you concur, then contact us saying what you could offer to promote our endeavour.

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