New technology developed to fight counterfeiting

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Counterfeit

As all the big cosmetic and toiletry brands continue their battle
to stamp out the damaging effects of counterfeit products, a Swiss
company bas developed a new camera phone technology that can help
distinguish fakes from the real thing.

AlpVision has forged its name as a solution provider for brand protection and security printing and unveiled its latest innovation at Creative Packaging in Paris.

The company says that its Cryptoglyph covert security solution can now be identified by taking a picture with a mobile phone and then sending it via a security server on any mobile phone network.

The security server can then identify whether or not the product is genuine thanks to the fact that the Cryptoglyph technology is claimed to be impossible to replicate.

The company says that, if detected, the embedded ciphered information is decoded, instantly identifying the batch or serial number of the product as well as other information contained in the security data base.

The solution also provides instant detection of possible grey market activity - which outlaws the possible import of good legitimately produced overseas and then imported into another market beyond the brand owner's traditional distribution channels.

The security server then reacts to the brands Crptoglyph labelling by identifying the coding and then sending an SMS back to the camera phone to confirm if the product is genuine or fake as well as indicating possible fraudulent re-importation.

The technology was first developed to help field controllers performing off the shelf inspection of pharmaceutical and cosmetics products, and the company says that the solution may be extended and given to end-consumers either for buying from retailer outlets or over the Internet.

Cryptoglyph is said to be the only invisible brand protection solution using standard visible ink and standard packaging production lines and is currently being employed by millions of products and documents on a global basis.

The counterfeiting of personal care products has proved a particularly big threat to the industry in Western Europe where luxury cosmetics and fragrances have been threatened by illegal counterfeit imports from Eastern Europe and Asia.

According to the Commission's most up to date data a total of 100 million counterfeit goods were seized in 2003 with an estimated value of €1 billion, compared to 85 million seized in 2002. Some 70 per cent of these goods are estimated to have come from Asia.

Breaking this figure down, CDs and clothing were the largest categories targeted by counterfeiters, whereas fragrances and cosmetics accounted for nearly 1.1 million seizures.

In April of this year the European Commission announced that it had adopted a new directive aimed at cracking down on the problem of counterfeit goods in Western Europe. New laws now mean stricter penalties that include up to four years in prison for individuals found guilty of trafficking.

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