Lenovo Seeks Blockchain Patent For Document Validation

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Lenovo has applied for a patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for an electronic device to ensure the integrity of a signed physical document using blockchain technology, according to a recent filing. The device identifies an integrity symbol within a physical document and converts it to a map that allows the device to verify the document’s integrity.

Source: U.S. Trademark & Patent Office

The application, number 20180046889, published Feb. 15, 2018, was filed Aug. 1, 2016 by Lenovo Pte. Ltd. of Singapore. The inventors listed include Robert James Kapinos of Durham, N.C., Timothy Winthrop Kingsbury of Cary, N.C., Scott Wentao Li of Cary, N.C., Russell Speight VanBlon of Raleigh, N.C.

The electronic device includes an imager that creates a digital image of the document. The device contains a processor, memory, document integrity module, input device with an imager and an output device with a printer.

Addressing A Need

The filing notes that businesses have not widely embraced digital signatures on account of the technological complexity and the lack of a widely accepted standard. When a paper document gets signed physically in ink and then scanned, faxed or emailed, there is no assurance that the text wasn’t altered after the document was signed, the filing notes.

Digital signature technologies currently do not provide tamper-proof mechanisms for verifying documents printed with ink, the filing notes.

The embodiments for the device can take the form entirely of hardware, entirely of software or a combination of both.

The storage device can include an electrical connection; a portable computer diskette; a hard disk; a random access memory; a read-only memory; an erasable, programmable, read-only memory; a portable, compact disc, read-only memory; an optical storage device; a magnetic storage device; or any combination of the foregoing.

Also read: Official: Arizona law recognizes blockchain signatures and smart contracts

Cryptographic Hash Deployed

To ensure the integrity of a physical document, a cryptographic hash is taken of areas in the document that contains content, the filing notes. A table such as a hash table is formed containing the cryptographic hashes corresponding to the physical document. Areas of the document can then be changed and are included in a hash table. The table is converted to a printable form and included in the document. The printable form encodes the integrity map into a format that can be scanned in and used to verify the integrity of the document.

When the document is printed and scanned, the integrity symbol is decoded to obtain the integrity map. The content can then be compared to the integrity map to verify that no changes were made since printing the integrity symbol.

In one implementation, a new integrity map is created by computing cryptographic hashes of the same areas as the printed document. If it is not compatible with the scanned-in integrity map, the document has been modified.

The authenticity of any electronic or printed version can be checked by examining the in-brand integrity symbol.

The filing includes an extensive explanation of embodiments and a detailed description of the functional units and features.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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