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International Consulting and Investment Company

On-Line Brand Protection

An Integrated Track and Trace Digital Branding Protection Solution provides the tools to manage the supply chain of any product, anywhere, anytime; even those sold on-line. Recent news of sales of fake goods on-line highlights the need for an integrated forensic solution to combat counterfeiting and brand larceny. Internet sales activity complicates the situation due to the direct relationship between seller and buyer and lack of control of internet sales. Studies have shown that a significant number of top brand product sales on the internet have been fake goods – as much as 40% of the sales of one prime brand owner’s goods proved to be fake. The damage to the brand owner is significant – the lost value of a sale to someone who wanted a real item; the risk now attendant to the next potential buyer who perceives that many fakes are in the market; and, in some cases a failure of the apparently real goods to perform to standard.

The degree of fake goods and the need for a supply chain protection that encompasses even the internet sale is highlighted by a French court’s order for EBay to pay 38.6 million Euros ($60.8 million) in damages to the French luxury goods company LVMH for the sale of fake goods through their channel of internet auctions! A July 1st, 2008 article published by The New York Times details the explosion of counterfeiting and the need for a solution to on-line brand protection issue.

PhotoSecure DNA Technologies has an effective set of taggants, inks and readers that provide the key technology for an integrated solution to the seemingly impossible task that brand owners and EBay and other companies face in this growing internet commerce field.

An integrated Track-and-Trace solution, using DNA Matrix™ taggants in invisible code marks made readable by SmartDye ® fluorescent taggants begins the process. The marks are printed by digital ink jet at just the last minute and scanned with special bar code readers to authenticate the individual item and track it through its lifetime. The PhotoSecure solution uses forensic, covert DNA marks in combination with overt, transparent, customer legible marks, producing a reliable and inexpensive solution to counterfeiting and diversion. Track-and-Trace starts on the production floor all the way to the customer’s hands providing transparency to the location and authenticity of the item any where, any time, any place in the world. The DNA marker provides the ultimate forensic element for legal “comfort” and for maximum anti-counterfeiting deterrence.

Wendell Smith, President of PhotoSecure, mentioned key points in his speech at the Brand Protection Conference in February 2008. In the most complete supply chain tracking model, the enterprise IT system uses a common unique identifier code throughout the supply chain and code readers with security elements bring the data into the manufacturing and supply data collection system. Thus the security element is being run in conjunction with the enterprise management system and protecting the brand from manufacturer, to distributer, and to consumer. Various technologies are integrated including; computer generated encrypted Unique Identifier Codes “numbers” with secure memory for data management, printed forensic DNA marks on brand products by digital printers placing “last minute” coded marks with Unique Identifier Codes, Optical Scanners at each point in the distribution chain all occurring in normal production operations and fully integrated to enterprise computer management programs.

Notes from TTG Security Printing Whitepaper #29:

“Counterfeiting and Brand Identity theft is accelerating with digital copying and printing techniques and with the outsourced remote manufacturing of highly Brand sensitive products. Global products depend on trust and recognition as the trade name and logo become just as important as the quality of the goods. There are larger incentives to cheat, and easy access to sophisticated technologies is encouraging criminals to produce increasingly successful fakes.”

  • PIRA International estimates that product counterfeiting represents 5 – 8% of world trade
  • The World Health Organization estimates that 5 – 7% of the world’s medicines are fakes
  • Losses to US businesses from the counterfeiting of trademarked consumer products is estimated at $200 billion a year (Dept of Commerce)

Most industries are at risk. The new breed of forgers is attracted by technological advances that make them more difficult to catch than the old. Generally, the counterfeiters have no previous criminal record, and the equipment they use is inexpensive and totally legitimate. HP estimates that they have over 200 million inkjet printers installed worldwide. How do you determine a legitimate print job from a fake with that kind of access to technology?

The advancement of technology and its use by counterfeiters has allowed better copies to be made of both the actual product and the packaging. Modern computers, scanners and color printers have not only made it easier to mimic packaging and documentation, but have also reduced the skill level required to produce passable copies. Technology has also meant that better copies can be made, that are harder to detect and which are easier to slip into the ordinary trade channels used by legitimate commerce. Sometimes counterfeits are mixed with genuine goods, making it difficult to detect the fakes. Consumers, who are deceived into believing that they bought a genuine article when it was in fact a fake, blame the manufacturer of the genuine product when it fails, creating a loss of goodwill.

By integrating product authentication features into existing inkjet technology, and developing electronic bar code readers sensitive to forensic covert taggants, the security system integrators the brand owner with protection against counterfeiting, pirating and product diversion – a level of security that will allow Brand Owners to recover revenues and market share, track distribution on an ongoing basis to control product piracy, preserve the integrity of their products in the marketplace and increase consumer confidence in their brands.

For further information:

To read more about the Integrated Track and Trace IT Concept to Combat Product Counterfeiting, Pirating, and Diversion see with other white papers and speeches on the subject. Topics include Background, Opportunity, Market Facts, Solving Brand Owners Problems, Track-and-Trace, Authenticators and Code Readers, and more. Please also see the new Polestar Ltd. web site white papers and speeches on the topic of brand protection through DNA security printing.

About TTG:

Technology Transfer Group is a division of Polestar Ltd. TTG’s consultants have been involved in the security printing business since 1995.

About PhotoSecure DNA Technologies llc;

PSD is the technology company stemming from Boston University Photonics Department. Dr. Gil Jones CTO of the University Chemistry Department is a leading expert in photonics effects and developing new dyes and taggants every month. They are particularly adept at taggant/ink/printer/reader combinations and can bring taggants such as DNA and specialty dyes to invisible marks as used in multilayered security track and trace systems.