Digital watermarks are an increasingly important and efficient technique to mark intellectual property by hidden, non-interfering information which is difficult to remove and difficult to detect without specific knowledge, such as encoder keys.

We have developed the first mechanism to robustly encode hidden information, such as copyright notes, in 3D chemical structure data sets. The information is encoded as minimal, pseudo-random distortions of the original 3D atomic coordinates. For typical encoder damping factors, the atom displacement is so small that the energy of the structure is changed only negligibly (about 0.05%).

We propose to use similar techniques to protect intellectual property rights in scientific datasets, for example to prevent misappropriations such as the US$199 Pharma-CD, which is essentially an unauthorized rip-off of the free and publicly accessible NCI anti-tumor screening database.

The core watermarking algorithm was developed by Joachim Eggers. His homepage can be found here. The procedure is described in: J. J. Eggers, W.-D. Ihlenfeldt and B. Girod, Digital Watermarking of Chemical Structure Sets, 4th Information Hiding Workshop, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, 25-27 April, 2001.

Usage Instructions
This service provides three distinct modes of operation. You may switch freely between them by clicking on the three big buttons above.
  • In the Embed Watermark mode, you can embed a watermark into a 3D structure set, either into your own data, or a random sample we provide. We even compute 3D coordinates for 2D structure sets, if necessary. A watermarked structure set is returned to you - please save it on your disk. Feel free to examine the new and slightly changed coordinates.

  • In the Attack Watermark mode, we provide a number of tools for typical attacks on the watermark - attempts to remove the hidden information by dilution, deletion, reordering, 3D operations, etc. Upload a watermarked structure set, such as the one obtained by the procedure outline above. The modified structure set is again returned to you for inspection.

  • In the Detect Watermark mode, you can check whether the watermark is still detectable. Upload a structure set (watermarked, attacked, or a sample without a watermark) and examine how the detection ability varies with structure set size, encoder damping factor and attack strength.

Usage Conditions
This service can be used free of charge by anybody. However, we log the submitted structures and reserve the right to use them for analysis of algorithm performance and potential problems, and to publish results, including the exact formula of processed structures and their origin. Please do not submit any confidential structures.

Users accessing the service by means of robotic scripts will be denied future access, unless prior approval was obtained from the maintainer.

In-house versions of this software are available for licensing.