counterfeits, counterfeiting, anti-counterfeiting, fight against counterfeits

Using Unique Identifiers to Protect Brands From Counterfeiting

“Counterfeit products are appearing with alarming frequency and it can be increasingly difficult to distinguish the genuine from the fake.”

—Philip Watkins, managing director of Gabriel-Chemie UK

The trade and production of counterfeit goods is on the rise at an alarming rate. The following cutting edge technologies are being used by manufacturers to address the growing problem of counterfeiting:

Butterfly inspires anti-counterfeiting product

Nanotech Security, a Vancouver-based company, adopted a technique developed at Simon Fraser University. This anti-counterfeiting technology imitates the Morpho butterfly’s wings. The Morpho uses light to produce iridescent shades of blue and green.

According to Nanotech’s website, the “iridescent security image uses an embossing technique that can be applied to many different surfaces, including plastic, fabric, metal and paper… the colors ‘flicker’ in a distinctive way, making an authentic security mark or logo easy to identify.”

The process would be very costly and difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.

Pigments in plastics

Gabriel-Chemie specializes in producing custom plastic additives. Watkins describes the process of manufacturing these unique pigments saying: they produce a “unique fingerprint that can be quickly, easily and accurately detected using either a small handheld device or an inline detector in a production environment.”

The unique identifiers can be company specific, and potentially even batch specific, offering brands protection from counterfeits and trademark infringement.

Invisible pattern in clothing

A researcher at Chalmers University of Technology created a partially invisible thread that produces a unique spectrum of colours or dye molecules that would remain unknown to potential counterfeiters and highly difficult to fake.

Researcher Christian Müller states that the “production process is itself uncomplicated” and that “clothing manufacturers could start using the thread right away to put a signature pattern in their garments” that can be used in clothing, as well as textiles, such as in vehicles.

The pattern can only be revealed under polarized lighting using specialized equipment.

Track and trace system using smart phones

The Authenticateit app assigns a Unique Product Identifier (UPI) to a specific product and location. Using a smart phone a customer can scan labels or UPIs located on the packaging of the product to verify the authenticity of the product.

If the product is real, the consumer can be confident in its authenticity; otherwise, scanning fake products will notify the consumer that the product is a knock-off and an alert will be sent to the owner of the brand notifying them of the counterfeit. The alert would also provide the brand owner with the exact location of the counterfeit goods, allowing them to take action.

Photo Source: Flickr

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