Management Consulting/REUSABLE AUTHENTICATION MARKS FOR PRODUCT PACKAGING
Dear Mr. Lingham,
In order for a mark to be useful, it needs to be of high value. Cheapness and low production requirement of marks are inherent qualities of currently used anti-counterfeiting technologies by which they are exploited by counterfeiters.
A minted mark with engraved unique ID that can be authenticated by cloud computing is an anti-counterfeiting measure that is improbable to be defeated or cirmcumvented. Effective counterfeiting deterrent and reliable authentication basis are two of the advantages that these innovative marks can provide. However, employing high value marks such as these marks will require reusability in order to be of practical use.
In a patent we filed, we described a method for employing such marks, the marks being (1) conspicuously displayed as it is detachably secured on a product packaging, (2) authenticated at the point of purchase by verifying its ID through cloud computing, (3) removed in a quick-release method and collected by a store clerk at the point of purchase after authentication, (4) gathered with other collected and authenticated marks, and (5) sent for reuse to its "user" which can be a brand owner or an organization implementing supply chain standards and solutions.
Can this method can be designed to make it economically practical and compatible to the nature and systems of supply chains and logistics?
Thank you very much,
WHAT YOU HAVE STATED IS TRUE.
YOU GOT TO WATCH
-vendor/ supply chain
HERE IS SOME RESOURCES.
Technology Selection Guide
A number of vendor and third-party tools exist for manufacturers to select appropriate authentication technologies for their products. However, thirdparty tools are merely guides for considering certain technologies since it is the actual application, i.e. the
product and anti-counterfeiting strategy involved, that will ultimately determine what technologies are chosen. Selection tools offered by technology providers should not be overlooked as a source of guidance and information, although these tools
may be limited to the technologies for which the provider has solutions. If a selection tool is used, the selection factors below may be helpful in guiding a manufacturer prior to using the tool, as well as assist
the manufacturer in interfacing with the tool.
2 Selection Factors
1 Impact on Product Price
Realistically, the price of the authentication technology is a major factor. Some low-priced electrical products, such as batteries and electrical receptacles, may not
tolerate a small increase in their cost. Even a penny can be too much. Of course, the larger the volume of the order, the less the cost per item.
Other authentication considerations that can impact a product’s price include:
• a one-time design or set-up fee that many
authentication providers charge
• special, quite expensive readers that are
required by some authentications
• additional equipment that may be necessary
to apply the authentication during the
When estimating the cost of a particular technology solution, the ongoing cost tends to decrease as experience and familiarity with the vendor and the
2 Impact on Manufacturing
The application of some technologies could require a change to a product’s manufacturing process or the addition of a new piece of equipment to the
production line. Most manufacturers are very sensitive to an additional step that could slow the production process or cause more manufacturing downtime.
The authentication provider should be sensitive to this issue and plan visits to the manufacturing facility to make certain nothing is jeopardized as a result
of a new process or new equipment.
Sometimes, the authentication provider is not the vendor of the application equipment; assurances should be obtained
from that vendor that the manufacturing process will not be affected.
3 Additional Capabilities
Some technologies for authentication and anticounterfeiting can also augment or complement efforts to manage diversion or parallel imports. Even if the
need for anti-counterfeiting may be low at the outset, the selection process should consider these additional benefits as they may justify the cost of the technology.
4.Serialization and Embedded Information
Serialization usually employs the application of a unique sequence of characters or digits that, in addition to authentication, can provide a level of control to the distribution channel. If such control
is desirable, the selection process should consider technologies that can provide serialization in addition
to authentication and anti-counterfeiting.
Used in conjunction with serialization or similar technologies, it is possible to embed additional information with the authentication technology. This information could be quality or channel related such as batch numbers or the intended market of a particular
product. If having this is desirable, the selection process should be considering embedded information.
The types of technology to be used may be
driven by the intended audience for detection and authentication. The audience could be specially trained agents, consumers of the products, and/or company personnel. With these audiences in mind,
the technology(ies) could be marketed as part of an anti-counterfeiting campaign, be communicated on a
limited basis, or remain confidential. Using the layered approach for authentication addresses each audience,
with each technology application providing the needed degree of authentication.
6 Authentication Placement
Another major factor is where to put the authentication
-- on the product itself, on the product packaging, or both. In any case, the available “real estate” on the
product in which the authentication can be placed must be considered. Also, consideration of where to put the
authentication needs to be based on who will be asked to authenticate. For example, on a residential circuit breaker, it may be desired to place the authentication
directly on the front of the breaker where it can still be viewed once the breaker is installed in the panel, thereby allowing access to the electrical inspector and
homeowner. The placement will have to be discussed with the authentication provider as some may not be able to get their technology to fit in a very small, restricted space.
7 Appearance Considerations
Adding authentication technology to the product or package could change the look. A dramatic change might even lead to concerns about customer perception or acceptance. Marketing and other departments in the company need to be kept informed
of technology implementations. A prototype of the authentication should be obtained showing the technology placed on the product and/or packaging;
this allows the “new look” to be seen by those
internally and externally (if desired) who can give feedback.
8 Environmental Factors
With electrical equipment, what happens to the authentication in various environmental situations
(heat, cold, humidity, water, fire, chemical exposure, etc.)
needs to be considered. If it is important that the technology withstand any of these elements and still
remain detectable, then the environmental properties of the technology need to be well understood as part
of the selection process.
9 Authentication Layers
A recommended approach is to implement a number of brand protection technologies simultaneously.
This layered approach can combine the use of overt, semi-overt, and/or covert technologies to provide a solution that is more difficult to copy and will ultimately
act as a deterrent to counterfeiting. A key question to be asked in the selection process is if the additional expense of using one or more technologies is really
needed given the objectives of the authentication. One approach is to start out with an overt technology that
is shared with the target audience, along with a semicovert technology that is kept confidential. However,
if the objective of the authentication is for defending the company in litigation, then using a covert or forensic technology may be warranted as it will be
highly confidential and difficult to detect without the proper equipment and/or expertise.
Table 2 provides a
guide in matching a technology to a brand protection strategy objective, and is useful when considering
implementing authentication layers.
Overt ----Covert -----Forensic -----Digital
done in a
as in RFID
tags or reading
comparing to a
BRAND PROTECTION STRATEGY
For Forensic --------Digital
Pursue legal actions against counterfeiters
and other unauthorized players in the
For Covert -------Forensic --------Digital
Conduct private investigations and
cooperate with enforcement agencies.
Inform and educate the public.
References and Experience of the
While authentication technology is a booming market, there is a risk to being a technology provider’s first client; using an experienced provider may be the
best choice. A provider’s references should always be checked, keeping in mind that not all clients can be revealed if there are confidentiality agreements in
place. Another check can be with other manufacturers that produce a similar item to learn why they chose
a particular technology vendor. Safety organizations, such as UL and CSA, could offer valuable information
11 Mixing and Matching Authentication
Vendors and Technologies
Using multiple authentication providers instead of just one should be an option to consider. One provider may have a superior overt technology, while another
offers an excellent covert technology. By using both providers, some expense could be saved in the process. For example, putting in a taggant from one vendor that only offers covert technology may be less
expensive than adding the covert feature of another vendor’s solution that offers overt to semi-covert to covert features.
12 Likelihood of the Technology Being Copied
Just as counterfeiters are copying a product, they will also attempt to copy the authentication technology.
Every authentication provider should be prepared to answer questions about the security of their technology and the likelihood that it could be copied
A technology is less likely to be copied if there is a significant additional expense to the counterfeiter to do so.
13 An Ongoing Relationship with the Vendor
The process of selecting a technology may also be influenced by the need to continually update the authentication technology in an ongoing process. Care
should be taken to ensure that the selected technology will evolve to stay ahead of the counterfeiters. This
is an important factor to discuss with a prospective vendor to understand in advance how you can expect
them to support you as your technological needs for authentication evolve.