Not losing your (block) chains: how the new technology helps to protect your CAD-files

We live in a world where everyone and everything is connected. This is especially true for various designing bureaus and industrial enterprises that exchange data daily, as their incomes and well-being are dependent on quick task completion.

But sometimes, you happen to share valuable assets with the wrong people, which might entail unforeseen consequences. And everything is even more complicated when you share CAD files that were not meant to be distributed at all. The most obvious outcome of such a failure is the loss of your intellectual property, which in turn prevents you from being the rightful owner of all the benefits of your hard work.

Fortunately, the interconnection of everything in our digital existence is not only about risk and losses. Like many other things in our life, it helps you when it is managed and, in this case, protected wisely.

One of the ways to do so is to counter new and advanced ways of breaching security with equally cutting-edge ways of defending it.

Today, we will talk about one method of safeguarding sensitive data: a unique system called the “blockchain”

But first things first, as Arthur C. Clarke once wrote: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” which is very true for blockchain, as the concept is rather complicated to understand and, due to its revolutionary potential, could trigger a reactionary crowd of peasants with torches and pitchforks demanding a return to more conventional systems.
But let’s put aside our digital torches and pitchforks and try to understand the technology ignoring all the hype around it.

In 2008, the blockchain idea was combined with several other technologies and computing concepts to create modern secured chained networks capable of storing information in one another.

Blockchains are tamper-resistant digital ledgers implemented in a distributed fashion and usually without a central authority. At their basic level, they enable a community of users to record pieces of information in a shared ledger so that no operations within a blockchain can be changed once published.

But at the same time, all operations within a blockchain are entirely traceable because, as the name suggests, it consists of blocks of information, where every block records, stores, and shares information with blocks before and after it.

When a user joins a blockchain network, they agree to the initial state of the system. This is recorded in the only pre-configured block, the genesis block. Every block is linked to the previous block by including the previous block’s hash, except for the first genesis block, which has no previous block. It means that information on a certain block is represented as a piece of code, and if something happens within the block, the code is changed too.

But as it was mentioned earlier, the blocks are connected, so if one of them is tampered with, the others stop “recognizing” it as one of their kin, which in turn renders the whole chain useless.
Read more about “How to protect trade secrets in manufacturing, and how can blockchain technology help this?”

So, what does it have to do with protecting CAD files?

First, you may use end-to-end IP protection offered to you by the CADChain’s BORIS plugin, which is added on top of Autodesk Inventor and digitally signs your files, proving that you and you alone are the original creator and owner of the files. And this goes on even before blockchain technology kicks in.

Read more about BORIS and how it works in the article “How to protect your CAD files and what does BORIS have to do with it?”

Second, to further fortify the protection of your CAD files, we use smart legal contracts that help legally protect your designs while avoiding extremely long and sometimes unreliable (not to mention expensive) official contracting procedures.

Usually, a smart legal contract requires a team of programmers and lawyers working in cahoots to be able to formulate an agreement within a blockchain digital network. But here at CADChain, we use Ricardian digitally parsable contracts, readable to both man and machine.

By using our contracts to protect your CAD files, you may sign NDAs and multiple subcontracts in an automated fashion. Furthermore, our contracts are intertwined with the data itself, which makes it possible to verify agreements between parties without disclosing the content of the contract under consideration. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Geometric twin of the CAD file

The aforementioned array of services and smart legal contracts work together to create the geometric twins of your CAD file.

We analyze the geometry of a CAD model and create a geometric twin of this CAD file. The technology that we have developed in-house is used to generate object ID hashes unique to the geometry of a specific 2d/3d model.

We blend geometry and cryptography for state-of-the-art IP protection that is securely embedded into the file. This means that all subsequent versions are connected to the object ID, which is always preserved unchanged.

Changing the file format does not invalidate the ID, which is another unique feature of the geometric twin approach.

And as we stated before, blockchain technology, which is the core system of our operations, involves peer-to-peer verification procedures, which means that the identity of individuals you are sharing data with is verified.

In conclusion, CADChain uses one of the most advanced technological wonders of our times to ensure that each and every CAD file you share is protected both legally and digitally against any malice that might lurk within the depth of the net. Also you can enable 3D models protection with our product BORIS for Cura.