A new Lenovo patent filing suggests that the Chinese technology giant could look to using blockchain as part of system for verifying the validity of physical documents.
In an application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last Thursday, Lenovo describes a set-up that utilizes digital signatures encoded in physical documents, which can be processed by computers and other machines, to verify the legitimacy of a document. The application was first submitted in August 2016, public records show.
The processing machine decodes the signature and translates it into a digital “map” of the document, which can then be compared to the physical copy at hand. The application says that the digital signature represents a “security block chain,” with a series of digital signatures representing blocks in the security chain. Lenovo clarifies that its “security blockchain” “refers to a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of data records secured from tampering and revision.”
It goes on to say that every block contains “information about the physical document at various points in time.”
Lenovo writes of its product:
“Using the security blockchain, anyone can validate that they have the current authentic physical document even if multiple paper copies exist and multiple people have made entries in the chain of modification. If any forgeries exist, they will show up as orphaned blocks in the chain. To validate a paper copy, a user of the electronic device takes a picture of the printed code on the physical document.”
Lenovo claims that the benefit of the product is that all parties holding copies of a given document can ensure that they “are each viewing an accurate copy” at any given time, eliminating the possibility that the text of the document was substantially altered after an “ink pen” signature was applied to it.
This is not Lenovo’s first experiment with the blockchain. Last year, Forbes reported that IBM had started working with the company on a blockchain-based invoicing system. At the time, the report suggested that the arrangement was aimed at making the billing and operational data processes more traceable and transparent.
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