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Defending Against Counterfeit Goods While Adding Value to the Consumer and the Manufacturer

The Challenge

In 2013 the World Customs Organization (WCO) said, “Counterfeit goods account for nearly 10 percent of worldwide trade, an estimated $500 billion annually”. The increase in international trade and technology advancements is sited as major reasons for the increase in counterfeit goods. The International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition keeps running statistics.

The are many costs to the manufacturer:

  1. Increased competition from the fake items. High quality counterfeits compete directly with the genuine article leading to lost sales.
  2. If the consumer was deceived into believing the item was genuine and later discovers it was fake (i.e. through a failure or return) there is a loss of goodwill and they may never purchase that brand again.

There are other costs as well:

  1. There are costs to the countries where counterfeiting takes place including lost investment, job loss, tax revenues and criminal activity.
  2. The cost to the consumer may be very high. Fake parts used in transportation, the military and fake drugs have harmed people.

The most obvious questions are:

  • How is counterfeiting taking place?
  • How can counterfeiting be prevented without dramatically increasing costs?
  • Can a solution bring other benefits to the consumer and manufacturer (i.e. not just add cost)?

BlackSeal, the Solution

BlackSeal is a web platform envisioned to prevent counterfeiting and bring additional value to the consumer and manufacturer.

RFID has proven itself to increase efficiencies in the supply chain. Marks and Spencer has become the first retailer to tag 100% of its merchandise, driven by measurable financial benefits.

The same technology in the form of NFC can be used in the retail environment pre and post sales to enhance the shopping experience, understand consumer behavior and strengthen customer relationship with the brand.

Consumers use smartphones while shopping for product reviews, price comparisons, etc. Most smartphones are now NFC enabled giving the consumer a free NFC tag reading capability. NFC tags embedded in products enable the manufacturer to participate in smartphone interactions. Through a managed URL consumers can gain product information & reviews, learn about promotions, register their product, participate in surveys, get post sales support and ease the return process. The manufacturer gets analytics information about user behavior in real time.

Consumers can also check that the product is in fact authentic. How does BlackSeal spot a fake?

An NFC enabled product is fake if:

  1. It doesn't have a tag
  2. It has a tag without a signature (BlackSeal can detect that)
  3. If one attempts to copy a signed tag (BlackSeal can detect that)

In a subsequent post I will elaborate on how BlackSeal can add value to a product for both consumers and manufacturers. Stay tuned...

About this Blog

The TrustPoint Innovation Blog covers security industry topics relating to Certificates, Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication, Near Field Communication (NFC), Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communication, and more.

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