Day of Intellectual Property:

This is how consumers and manufacturers protect themselves against product piracy

Heidelberg, 26 April 2016. Regrettably, in the wake of globalisation and the growing volumes of online trade, the theft of ideas and brand piracy are now an unfortunate reality. The importance of effective protection of copyright is underscored today by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), staging its World Day of Intellectual Property for the 16th year in succession. For years, German customs have been battling against the inflow of counterfeit goods: in 2015, it mounted 23,000 targeted operations and withdrew counterfeit branded goods and products from the market with a combined value of €312 billion (see graph). The product pirates line their pockets with illicit earnings at the expense of brand owners and they put jobs at risk. A particularly lucrative line for these counterfeiters involves the copying of pharmaceuticals, something which can have potentially lethal consequences for consumers. For that reason, in 2015, the customs authorities stepped up their search for fake pills to an enormous extent, and impounded 3.9 million tablets. That figure is more than four times what was confiscated in the previous year. For the most part, fake pharmaceuticals come from China, India and Thailand.


Well then, how can brand owners and consumers best protect themselves against fake products? Counterfeit goods are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish with the naked eye from their original counterparts. One efficient countermeasure to adopt against counterfeiters is to apply a consistent policy of product protection. Every more brand providers use security labels from tesa scribos to identify pharmaceuticals, handbags, watches or spirits with individual and counterfeit-proof features – these imbue their products with an unmistakable form of verification on their way to the international delivery chain.


The Heidelberg product and brand protection specialist combines its security technologies, developed in-house, with trendy technologies such as NFC (Near Field Communication), RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and QR codes. This enables consumers, customs officials and originators to leverage the benefits of inductive communication and to distinguish within seconds, using a smartphone or an RFID scanner, between the genuine article and counterfeit items. This is based on the prerequisite that the standard technologies need to be supplemented: “Until now, the transmission of product identification numbers via NFC or RFID has been an uncertain process because the carrier media (chips and tags) can be procured online from anywhere on earth and, in a similar way to barcodes (and this is also true of QR codes), constitute reproducible technology standards. These electronic identification technologies only provide effective protection against counterfeit goods if they are combined with dependable and visually verifiable forms of evidence such as those produced by tesa scribos”, explained Volker Hahn, International Marketing Director at tesa scribos.


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