OpSec Blog

 Insights on Anti-Counterfeiting & Brand Protection Solutions

Can Mobile Phones Fight Counterfeiting

Posted by Mark Turnage on May 21, 2013 11:44:00 AM

 

I'm Mark Turnage, and I want to talk about one of the most exciting developments in OpSec today, and that's the area of mobile authentication platforms.

Mobile authentication platforms allow our brand owners to communicate directly with consumers in a way that hasn't been available to us before. It allows a consumer to go in, and using a mobile device, go into a point of retail and authenticate a product as the real item, as the genuine article and not a counterfeit. But it also allows the brand to communicate with that customer. For example, a brand can communicate with that customer and provide marketing information. It can provide information about the actual product. It can provide information about warranties. It then allows the consumer to interact, either directly with the brand or with their friends, via social media, and talk about the brand, talk about the product, inform their friends that they've bought that product.

There's a whole variety of ways that our customers use this mobile platform to not only combat counterfeiting, but then develop an information base about their consumers, and it allows the consumers to then interact and interrogate with a brand, in a way that really has not been the case to date. We're tremendously excited about this platform.

The challenge to the counterfeiters, interestingly enough, is that today counterfeiters will often attempt to simulate or counterfeit what we're doing so that a consumer may be tricked into believing that a product is real. Once you move to this mobile authentication platform, that becomes virtually impossible. A counterfeiter not only has to counterfeit the product, but has to counterfeit the entire ecosystem upon which that authentication and that exchange of information with the brand owner exists. If I, as a consumer, go into a product, into a shop and interrogate a product, and I don't have a meaningful interaction with the brand, at a minimum it gives rise to a concern that that product may not be authentic.

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So we are actually extending our product range beyond mere authentication, into a meaningful interaction with the consumers themselves, and it makes the consumer a partner in both the authentication of the product, as well as in the interaction with the brand owner.

How does this make society better? Customers know that they're buying a legitimate product. That's particularly critical for things like pharmaceuticals or spare parts for automobiles or for airplanes, but it's also important for brands. It's also important if you, as a consumer, are buying a product, and you want to know that you're getting full value for money. This allows you the comfort to do that.

We have never seen counterfeiters successfully replicate a mobile authentication platform. They will. In due course, they will come at that platform and try and replicate it, and try and simulate it. But the bar has been raised for counterfeiters to a level that it has never been raised before. Instead of merely trying to counterfeit a product and perhaps simulate the types of authentication technologies that we provide, counterfeiters are now faced with the task of creating an entire ecosystem, not only the product, not only the tag that authenticates that product, but an entire ecosystem that allows them to interrogate a brand, communicate with a brand in the point of retail, in the store itself. So that becomes an increasingly difficult thing for the counterfeiters.

In our experience, when counterfeiters are faced with that challenge, they don't stop counterfeiting. What they do is they divert their efforts onto brands that are not protected.

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Topics: Counterfeiting, Product Authentication