Failing Traditional Anti-Counterfeit Tools

The fight against counterfeit products is a global challenge with companies across industries implementing tools to create a robust supply chain. Yet, everyday counterfeit goods worth millions of dollars enter the supply chain and reach unsuspecting customers. This not only leads to loss of revenue, but it also ends up hurting the brand image. If the customer receives a sub-standard product under a brand name, it is unlikely that they will ever purchase the product again.
According to the Global Brand Counterfeiting Report 2018, the value of global counterfeiting will reach USD 1.82 Trillion by 2020. In 2017 alone, online counterfeiting led to a total loss of USD 323 Billion across the globe. This is just the stats for modern trade which comprises a single digital market share in developing countries such as India, the extent of counterfeiting activities is anticipated to be way much bigger than imagined. As a consequence, it becomes important to understand that companies are making a fatal mistake of relying on age-old traditional anti-counterfeit tools which are totally ineffective in the present age. These anti-counterfeit tools were aimed at helping the government, agencies, and regulators eliminate counterfeit products from the supply chain.
So, why are these tools not working anymore? Let us look at some of these tools and understand why one should immediately stop using them for anti-counterfeit measures.

1. Tamper Evident or Tamper Proof Packaging

This has been one of the most widely used technique to protect the original packaging and the product within. However, some basic skills and patience are enough to get-around tamper-evident or tamper-proof packaging. The unsuspecting customer never even realizes that the original product was tampered with or replaced. A few of the reasons leading to the failure of this tool have been the unimaginative and inexpensive design, limited vulnerability testing, and the intention of ensuring that anyone can easily open the packaging.

2. Holograms

Usage of Holograms is again one of the widely used practices to curb counterfeiting of products in several industries. These holograms which are made using polyester film base can be viewed via naked eyes when titled in light. Holograms are designed to provide customers with a simple tool to ensure brand authentication. However, holograms do not capture any data, nor can they be tracked and besides, it is naive to assume that someone who could duplicate an entire product will not be able to create a fake hologram.

3. Optically Variable Features

Using the same technology behind holograms, some companies prefer implementing optically variable features. This technology is usually seen on banknotes, credit cards, passports, etc. A latent image formation is printed such that it exhibits different patterns which are visually recognizable. While this technology has several benefits, it is not entirely immune to being manipulated. Considering the fact that even counterfeit currencies are developed which replicate the original optical variable feature, it should be hardly surprising that the same is done with the products.

4. Digital Watermarks

Digital watermarks encode UPC data invisibly and repeatedly over the entire surface of packages. These watermarks are invisible to the naked eye and have been used by banks to prevent counterfeiting. These digital watermarks save time, enable consumers to scan the product and ensure product authenticity. While the technology is undoubtedly promising, companies have to make substantial initial investments towards new hardware and software.

5. The Trusted Mechanism

While several technologies are available to prevent counterfeit products from entering the supply chain, nothing beats the traditional trust mechanism that most people share with the “around the corner” retail shop owner. It could work to an extent, but with advancing counterfeit mechanisms, even the shop owner may not be aware of the fake products they are selling. It is quite possible that some bad actors in the supply chain may have introduced a fake product that will end up being sold to unsuspecting customers who trust the person selling it. This again not only results in loss of revenue for a company but also ends up hurting your brand image due to a negative experience that might arise from the counterfeit product.

What Could be the Ideal Practice for Tackling Counterfeit Menace?

So, if the traditional methods are not useful and are being used only for imaginative self-satisfaction, what should be done to tackle the counterfeit menace rampant across industries? As the counterfeit industry grows and fraudsters improve counterfeiting techniques, established brands, as well as startups, are facing a daunting challenge in tackling the situation. If advancement in technology has led to massive counterfeiting, then technology itself is capable of solving this grave problem.
O4S offers product serialization and product verification tools that help secure your supply chain. The unique ID is similar to the Aadhaar code, empower companies to track the product movement across the supply chain and consumers to validate the authenticity of their purchased products. Using a simple app, SMS or web widget, the end-users are delighted to find out that they are purchasing an original product through the unique code.
Counterfeiting will definitely not be solved in a day and will require sustained efforts from all stakeholders in the downstream supply chain over a period of time. This could mean doing everything from following good practices and professional ethics within the company to using the latest available technological solutions to ensure strong anti-counterfeit measures. Please get in touch with our executive to know more about our latest offerings that can put you a step ahead of the counterfeiters. Dial 1800–123–208–208 or email your queries at For more details, you can website our website