Fighting Counterfeiters During the Holiday Season

By Holly Gilbert

Donfried explains that the solution works for the consumer as well, who can verify the product they are buying is legitimate through an authentication app. “In the case of an online merchant, the consumer could ensure that the online merchant makes the image of that mark available to them, and they can then locally authenticate it through their browser, and then what that can do for the consumer is verify that one, yes this is an authentic genuine article, and this particular merchant has been authorized by that brand owner to sell it.”

LaserLock Technologies has developed their product to make the serial numbers nearly untraceable to counterfeiters to prevent duplication. “We’ve taken two approaches to try and secure [BrandGuard] and make it resilient. One of those is to leverage the security pigments and inks which were our core products that we introduced in 1999” Says Donfried. “Those products allow us to put invisible marks onto products and packages that can be authenticated. And we’ve developed image processing technology that allows us to take conventional smart phones and use those to authenticate and recognize those invisible marks.”

Secondly, the company leverages encryption to ensure that the tracking number, even if detected, would be meaningless to a counterfeiter. “Rather than simply putting open marks onto the packages and products, we take the serial numbers that are unique to each item and we use advanced cryptography to encrypt those,” says Donfried.

The encrypted numbers are then put into a machine readable format, such as a barcode or GS1 DataMatrix. “What that produces is a system where, even if the counterfeiter is able to detect the mark, and even if the counterfeiter is able to recognize the mark, once they decode the QR code or the GS1 DataMatrix, they’re left with the encrypted blob and they have no way of determining what that encrypted blob represents.” For anyone authenticating the product with LaserLock’s app, a request is sent to a cloud service where the barcode or GS1Matrix is verified.

Laserlock Technologies is still in the process of rolling out the full components of BrandGuard, including the app for consumers to crosscheck retail items. Donfried says there is a lot of change already occurring on the side of the retailers in order to get BrandGuard fully up and running. “We have the central components of BrandGuard in place today. There are additional pieces that we continue to develop and work on and add into the system, but the core capabilities of the system, the cloud services for managing, the item level serialization, the inks and dyes for creating and applying the marks, the interfaces for the printing systems, those things exist today and we’re in the process of working with customers currently under nondisclosure,” he says.


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