Technologies That Are Helping Combat Counterfeit Goods

In today’s world, the risk of counterfeiting is higher than ever. Criminals have access to technologies that allow them to identify profitable products and replicate them. 

If you don’t prevent this, you risk a large decrease in revenue that is siphoned off to these criminals.

Therefore, your organization should be using technologies of your own that allow you to detect counterfeit goods and prevent their distribution. That way, you can alert customers, retailers, and authorities of these false products to protect your bottom line and your reputation.

In this article, we will discuss various technologies that are effective towards this aim. 

Let’s get started.

Holographic Technology

While criminals can reproduce physical goods with near-perfection, the same is not true of holographic technology, or holograms. 

Holograms are images with three-dimensional characteristics used on a label, sticker, or foil. They are incredibly difficult to replicate, making them a powerful anti-counterfeit technology. 

For instance, holograms are used on banknotes around the world and applied with special printing processes.

When viewed from different angles, the hologram image, and its color change. This can be easily identified visually by those who know what to look for. 

Holograms are an excellent choice when looking to prevent the counterfeiting of hard goods.

Watermarks

Watermarks are an effective and relatively inexpensive way to prevent the forgery of documents and other paper-based goods. 

A watermark is barely visible unless you hold the object up to special lighting.

Because of their covert nature, watermarks cannot be replicated or copied via traditional technologies. 

A person would have to have access to the printer and techniques used to create it in order to replicate the document, which is difficult. 

As a result, instances of counterfeiting reduce significantly.

Watermarks are used heavily in currency creation, document verification, and other paper-based objects. 

You can use watermarks on packaging, brochures, and other items included with your product to increase security.

Special Ink Stamps

Special ink stamps can be used on your goods to prevent counterfeiting. They often include variable colors and designs that are difficult to replicate.

You can place stamps on various parts of your products, including the label, the product itself, the packaging, and more. 

The stamp helps prevent forgery primarily by deterrence. They are often made with specific chemicals that are not widely accessible and require specialized tests to identify. Because it is so difficult to fake, many criminals won’t attempt to knock off your product in the first place.

Microprinting

Microprinting involves creating tiny images or words that help identify the real product. Like other forms of printing, it can be placed on multiple parts of your product or package.

Unless criminals have access to the same printer and device sizes, they will not be able to duplicate the printing on your material, meaning that the fake goods can be easily identified with a microscope or other visual device.

Barcodes and Quick Response (QR) Codes

Barcodes or QR codes are not hidden, but they are still effective measures for combating counterfeit goods. 

They provide a great front-line defense against forgeries when placed on your package or product.

Using visual technology, you can check your product barcodes against a remote database. 

If it does not match up, you or your business partners can identify a product as fraudulent, helping to prevent the sale of fake goods, protecting your profit.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near Field Communication (NFC)

One of the ways to indicate the authenticity of a product is using radio technology, specifically RFID chips.

The RFID emits a special signal when it is activated and within the range of a device used for detection. In NFC technology, the signaling device itself also functions as the detecting device.

Companies like Apple, Google, and other technology manufacturers use these chips to protect their brand name and profits. 

Because the chip is embedded during the manufacturing process, it is prohibitively time-intensive and expensive to remove or counterfeit it.

You can use these technologies in a variety of electronic devices, such as smartphones, watches, or anything that provides power to the chip so that it can emit its signal, increasing your security.

AI Image Recognition Tools

Artificial Technology (AI) tools can be used to identify products that are fraudulent and stop criminals in their tracks. 

Visual scanners can be programmed and “trained” by looking at hundreds or thousands of versions of your product.

Using visual cues, the AI learns what the real product looks like from a particular angle or under specific lighting. 

Then, when an imitation is run by it, the technology will detect the anomaly and alert you. 

This is much more feasible than having your staff look at products or your retailers and identifying them manually.

Chemicals for Authentication

Chemicals are often used to detect authentic products, both organic and synthetic. 

This involves the use of spectrometers, which rely on scientific methods to authenticate the intrinsic attributes of the product.

For instance, medicine, food, and other organic materials have certain chemical signatures. The elements are present in different percentages. 

A trained scientist using a spectrometer can detect the difference between a fake and the real item based on its chemical make-up.

Even if you produce synthetic products, they will have their own chemical signature. 

You may have a unique polymer or other chemical coating on your products, which can be picked up by the same technology just as effectively.

X-Ray Techniques

There is a technique called X-ray Spectroscopy (EXDS) that involves analyzing the elements of a product sample. It detects the composition of the product across a spectrum. 

This can be used to detect products on a molecular level.

In some cases, your product may be easy to replicate. However, the criminals will not have access to your exact manufacturing processes, so they will not be able to do the same with its structure.

This is where X-ray technology is particularly useful, as it can be used to detect counterfeit plastic or metal molds, for instance.

Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)

Cybercriminals can hack databases and other product identification technologies. Therefore, blockchain and DLT are among the technologies that play an important role in preventing counterfeiting. 

As such, they are something every company should be using.

These open-source technologies help promote transparency and trackability of products through their lifecycle in the supply chain and store their information in a database that is non-centralized. This way, no single person can harm the integrity of the data’s authenticity.

In Conclusion

If you want to gain a competitive edge in today’s business world, you need the right tools and strategies. 

You can create the best product, marketing, sales, and distribution in the world. However, this will not prevent counterfeit versions of your products from hitting the market.

In order to combat counterfeiting, you need to form a strategy using technology that both covertly and overtly identifies your real product from a fake. 

Using RFID, printing, holograms, AI, and more, this is easier than ever. Therefore, implement the technologies above and protect your business now and going forward.

Lisa Michaels is a writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. She writes about the latest trends in manufacturing and business tech for Bunty LLC. In her spare time, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.