Brand Protection & Authentication

Holograms as a security marking? What to look for

Before using holograms as counterfeit protection markings, there are some important aspects to consider – we explain which.

Embossed holograms are only restrictedly suitable as security markings

The search term “security hologram” produces more than 41,000 hits on Alibaba
Holograms are everywhere: as a fun effect on postcards and toys, but also on banknotes, credit cards and on expensive products such as consumer electronics. In the case of the latter, holograms are intended to identify genuine products as such to enable consumers to distinguish them from counterfeit products. There are a few aspects to consider, however.

Embossed holography technology is freely available on the market and is provided by a vast number of suppliers. Custom embossed holograms can also be purchased easily and affordably from online sales platforms such as eBay and Alibaba. The search term “security hologram” alone produces more than 41,000 hits on Alibaba (as at Dec. 2016). This has already been exploited frequently in the past by counterfeiters, who not only produced imitations of original products but also used the available technology to produce imitations of the hologram markings. Security identification marks that can be created using such publicly available technologies are therefore not recommended.

In the worst-case scenario, brand owners waste both time and money. Counterfeiters can continue to sell their counterfeit products by producing imitations of the would-be security holograms and applying them to their counterfeit products. Consumers are lulled into a false sense of security but are in fact buying a counterfeit product. The financial losses incurred by the brand owner remain unchanged.


Easily identifiable features that differ significantly from freely available technologies are suitable as authenticity marks

The selected provider should have developed its counterfeit protection markings in-house. They must be based on a technology that is not freely available. As a general rule, this does not apply to embossed holograms.

The solutions provider executes strictly limited and precisely traceable delivery of the markings to authorised producers of the brand products. This ensures that counterfeiters cannot buy the markings anywhere or reproduce them using available technologies. Security markings on original products enable customers to identify them as such, differentiating them from counterfeit products. This helps brand owners to protect customers and their own company.


Interesting links on this subject

Search on more than 41,000 hits for the search term “security hologram”

Search on More than 2,000 hits for the search term “security hologram”

More on effective counterfeit protection markings


Dr Steffen Scheibenstock, International Product & Market Manager at SCRIBOS

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