Existing methods to protect branded products against fraudulent replicas are often simple technical solutions that are not sufficient enough to cope with present and future requirements. The revenues of brand- and product forgers are increasing rapidly. Latest numbers indicate that up to 9% of the worldwide trade derives from fraudulent replicas (source: Deutsches Patent und Markenamt, 2007).
The evaluation of additional features of the product, e.g. holograms and others to prevent fraudulent replication, turns out to have its weaknesses.
Profoundly, the replicas of the forgers pass through uncounted mutations, like a virus, that hardens them against techniques to improve the fraudulent falsification characteristics. The forger simply adopts the new falsification characterization, saves by this quite a lot of money, as he doesn’t need to develop methods for identification. Also, any new action to protect products with new fraudulent falsification characteristics causes many issues for the brand owner in customer communications:
- a) the customer should not feel insecure due to press releases about replicas that are hard to distinguish from the original
- b) spreading the information which characteristic has to be reviewed to identity the originality of a product. Is it the hologram, is it an etched sign, or both, or nothing? Don’t be surprised, some replicas got holograms that aren’t on the original.
How can a promising approach for containment of fraudulent replicas be formulated?
Evaluation methods of the use of approaches to avoid brand-and product falsifications are, beside historical reviews, nearly unknown. For analytical purposes, a significant number of samples is necessary, and the success of the contemporary adjustment of faked falsification characteristic needs to be considered for method evaluations.
Approaches, which are being discussed and implemented at present, will be documented in this community.
In an organic growing ecosystem, it could make sense to use active systems that are known from biology.
Who knows his children best? Parents, of course! And how can this knowledge be transferred to third parties? By names and attributes which can be provided from the parents .
Through the operation of a database, that is filled by parents/OEMs on how their children/products look like and how their personal live/logistic live had been until today, everybody should be able to identify a property clear and without any ambiguity.
Such powerful global databases have not been field-tested for this approach. The estimated data volume requires an optimization of given database technologies.
In my opinion, a system with distributed databases and central access control will be the solution in future. An important success factor is to pay attention to all personal and confidential requirements and legal regulations of all involved parties. This has to be assured by a sophisticated access control mechanism.
A Brand Protection System should work like this:
Being successful in the war against forgers is not only relevant from a financial point of view for the OEM, as he needs to cover product development and production cost to ensure the company’s future. It also means safety for the buyer. E.g. ineffective medicine and safety-relevant parts in vehicles, that do not work correctly, are perilous.
In 2008, I’ll continue this blog with updates and detailed information on active systems and related topics. Meanwhile I’d be encouraged if you share your observations on this topic in this community.