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Counterfeiting and Microdots

The product industry has been under a tremendous threat of counterfeiting attacks. Industries like Pharmaceuticals, FMCG’s and Food are under the critical risks of these counterfeiting attacks. Some industries especially manufacturing may sometimes have to face the brunt of brand tarnishing and loss of reputation due to product duplication or sub-standardisation. We have in the recent past, time and again heard of milk adultery that largely affects masses. In the name of the brand, small-time companies are thriving under the name, shadow and impressions of bigger brands by impersonating them. Using similar brand names with add-ons, creating near identical packaging designs and selling sub-standard stuff under the copied brand name is a total disruption and menace. Counterfeiting is not merely tampering the brand credentials, but on the extreme side can be life-threatening due to sub-standardisation. It is a threat that cannot go unnoticed. Processes like Brand Identity and Brand Copyrights to a large extent protect the identity but sometimes the penetration is at such a discreet level that it comes to notice when considerable damage is done.

Technology overtly, covertly and forensically to large guard products. Techniques like holograms, colour shifting security inks, product numbering, product marking, digital watermarks, invisible printing, laser coding and many more are difficult to replicate and expensive considering they have used security perspective alone. It is an additional cost to packaging. A solution that comes simple and affordable remains the imminent need.

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In a larger perspective, the e-commerce industry has largely disrupted traditional buying patterns. Major populace across the world buy online for the choice of products and comfort of shopping. Lakhs of vendors sell online claiming branded product albeit sometimes under questioning prices. Statistics reveal almost 19% of the consumers receive the counterfeited product. Categories like apparel, perfumes & electronics are to a large extent counterfeited online. The government, considering the trend has proposed that vendors selling on e-commerce sites need to be mandatorily endorsed by brands. A trademark or authorisation from the brand company, the vendor can display on the e-commerce site. This not only helps the consumer get genuine products but in turn can save the brand reputation. However, considering the massive scale of e-commerce operations, this needs to be brought in practise.

A solution of the future is, Microdots be used as a technique for anti-counterfeiting as it is currently used for anti-theft. As brand protection is a concern of the service providers and safety of the consumers, their prime outlook. Microdots are a minuscule disc of 1mm diameter embedded with information that remains unique to its owners. This unique information is registered and stored in a secure database. Microdots are easy to apply and affordable. They are minute and not visible to the naked eye. A magnifier of 50X can help read the unique information. The information embedded also fluoresces under UV light. It is a very simple technology and can be used to tag any asset to establish its rightful owner & genuineness. Product companies can use this technique by embedding brand-specific information on the discs that can be read through an app. This process can help establish the authenticity of the product. Many automobile manufacturing giants are already using the microdot technology to mark the vehicle and components as an anti-theft measure. Specific apps designed to read and decode microdots can largely establish genuineness and serve as an anti-counterfeiting solution.

Microdot has come across as trusted anti-theft solution already and with some adaptations can also be effectively used as an anti-counterfeiting solution.