Arent Fox has successfully procured another patent for Acronis, a leading provider of cloud backup and data management services, covering a new technology for watermarking digital content using a blockchain network.

Digital video recording has become ubiquitous in this modern age of technology. From video cameras incorporated into smartphones, to “smart” home security cameras, and even to body-worn video cameras, an avalanche of digital video data is being generated. However, one key drawback of recorded video is the ease with which it can be altered (e.g., using AI-based “deepfakes” video applications) and the difficulty with which it can be reliably authenticated. Video can be authenticated, e.g., by determining the time that the video was recorded or by confirming that the video has not been digitally modified. The dangers of unauthenticated digital video can have a serious impact on many areas of society, including privacy, security, journalism, and law enforcement. These dangers are exacerbated by the speed at which viral news stories can propagate across the Internet.

Arent Fox assisted Acronis with obtaining a patent for a unique blockchain-based system for authenticating digital content. US Patent No. 10,176,309 describes a new system for watermarking video data using hash values from data blocks stored in a blockchain-based distributed ledger. This new system is resistant to forgery or manipulation, and is compatible with existing, standard digital video recording equipment. In one example described by the patent, a video data stream can be analyzed to generate hash values, which are then transmitted to and stored, along with the associated timestamp data, in a blockchain network. These hash values function as watermarks, allowing one to easily verify the authenticity of the video data by checking whether the watermarked video data matches hash values and timestamps stored in the blockchain network. This technology provides cyber protection for digital data, applications and systems – ensuring safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity and security for digital content.

Due to the apparent uniqueness and importance of the invention, Arent Fox was tasked by Acronis to obtain a patent for this technology quickly and with broad claim coverage. To accomplish these goals, Arent Fox’s patent attorneys expedited prosecution of the application by conducting a series of one-on-one telephone interviews with the examiner prior to the issuance of a first Office Action, which quickly resolved all patentability issues. Due to this effective prosecution strategy, the ‘309 patent was obtained within 14 months from the application filing date, with minimal prosecution history and broad claim coverage.