Different kinds of anti-counterfeiting technologies

With counterfeiting making its footprints deeper and marking its presence everywhere, the solutions to combat it have not only become necessary but mandatory. This is where the role of anti-duplication or anti-counterfeiting technologies comes in.

Product authentication’s role is to ensure that a given product is genuine or counterfeit. The product authentication process during the entire supply chain should be exemplary as manually it is very difficult to identify a counterfeit. The initial point of automated non-destructive product authentication is to insert a special security feature into products like the barcode, QR code, serial numbers etc.

Product authentication can take place at a single piece or at pallet formation or at higher aggregated levels also. As every product has different security requirements, therefore different solutions are needed to secure different products.

All the anti-duplication technologies can be categorized into Overt, Covert, Forensic or Digital.

Overt Technologies: These technologies do not require any additional tools; they are visible and apparent with naked eyes. This is the best way for on the spot visual authentication. They can be used in labels, documents and packaging.

Covert Technologies: These technologies are not instantly recognisable. They require special tools or equipment to identify authenticity; not visible through naked eyes e.g. ultraviolet and infrared inks, micro text, unique synthetic tagging etc.

Forensic Technologies: These technologies being covert require detection by specialised technologies and are usually taken to laboratories for validation.

Digital Technologies: These technologies may be either covert or overt and require electronic means of authentication. These are mostly used in RFID tags or in reading a serialized number and comparing to a database.

All these technologies are applied in the three main areas of:

1.Anti-tampering technologies: These technologies are majorly used in the food and pharmaceutical industry where the product needs to be protected from adulteration or replacement. The anti-tampering feature gives assurance to the customers that the contents are genuine and not tampered or adulterated.

2.Anti-counterfeiting technologies: The common feature of anti-counterfeiting technologies is that they are extremely difficult to be counterfeited. These technologies help in differentiating a counterfeit product from an original product. Based on the authentication requirements, such technologies may consist of overt, covert and forensic features, or a mix thereof.

3.Track and Trace technologies: These technologies make use of mass serialisation and unique codes to provide a unique identity to each item/product. IT technology enables the manufacturer to keep track of the movement of the product through the entire supply chain. Besides, the location and other relevant information of people in the chain can also be traced.