The Role of Anti-counterfeiting Technologies in Securing Supply Chains

From knock-off fashion accessories to fake mobile phones, automotive parts and pharmaceuticals, counterfeiters manufacture and sell inferior goods using another company’s trademark, brand name, logo or appearance. Benefiting from rapid developments in technology, these organizations use sophisticated means to duplicate items, making it quite difficult for customers to identify the true source of the products they purchase.

Counterfeiting is a serious crime punishable globally by fines that may run into millions of dollars and imprisonment of up to 20 years. Despite this, the counterfeit industry continues to cost the world economy hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organization for world trade, estimates that trafficking in counterfeit products accounted for USD 250 billion in 2007⁠⁠ — approximately 1.95% of international trade. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, counterfeiting was a USD 600 billion business in 2011, amounting to 5% – 7% of global trade.

In a March 2019 report, OECD stated that trade in counterfeit and pirated goods has risen steadily in the last few years, even as overall trade volumes stagnated. According to the estimates, counterfeit trade currently stands at 3.3% of global trade.

Counterfeiting organizations are often linked to other organized crimes such as drug cartels, money laundering and exploitation of child labor. Even as law enforcement agencies increase efforts to shut down the illicit business, statistics point toward continued exponential growth in the sale and manufacture of counterfeit goods worldwide.

The need for effective risk management in the supply chain

  • China is estimated to account for 78.5% of the total counterfeit market, and along with Hong Kong, continues to be among the biggest origin countries for pirated goods.
  • Footwear, clothing, leather goods and electrical equipment are the top product categories targeted by counterfeit organizations.
  • Counterfeit and pirated products continue to follow complex trading routes, targeting certain intermediary transit points in supply chains, especially in countries where ports are not secured.
  • In 2016, up to 6.8% of EU imports comprised of counterfeit and pirated products. This amounts to as much as €121 billion.

Although it affects every product category, counterfeiting is more accentuated for businesses with a globalized supply chain. Supply chain management at large corporations can involve hundreds of links with each of those susceptible to intrusion by counterfeit organizations.

Counterfeit items can enter legitimate supply distribution chains at a number of points — the various component manufacturers, suppliers of raw materials, offshore assembly units, transportation, and even the retailers.

If not checked for quality, sources, proper delivery and authenticity throughout the supply chain, high-quality products may get replaced by cheap knock-offs at any point most convenient to counterfeiters.

As laws differ in countries, a manufacturer could potentially leave their product open to counterfeiting at any point in the supply chain when they target a market in a developing country. The market is characterized by businesses working with governments to reduce counterfeit trade. Preventive measures such as penalization, customs laws, and civil remedies work to some extent but fail to significantly reduce the problem. Often, in developing countries, regulatory authorities are ill-equipped to correctly identify original products from fakes.

There is an undeniable need to develop a far-reaching strategic approach to counter such criminal efforts with a multidisciplinary response and the active participation of a wide range of actors, each with their own expertise and specific areas of work.

The role of technology may offer significant contributions to step up deterrence and curb counterfeiting. The two most common technological solutions that companies employ are product authentication and track-and-trace systems.

Product authentication

Authentication methods allow customers to identify whether the products they’ve purchased are genuine or counterfeit. This usually involves assigning security holograms, QR codes and unique numbers or patterns to each product after the final quality check at the manufacturing unit. Scanning the unique code on their smartphone allows the customer to verify the genuineness of the product while informing the manufacturer about its successful sale. Security holograms for authentication can be found on nearly all credit and debit cards.

Track-and-trace systems

Track-and-trace systems are designed to help manufacturers identify faults in their supply chain. As the name suggests, these systems allow manufacturers to track product journey along the entire supply distribution chain from the production unit to end-customer, and customers to trace the products back to their original source.

Smart QR codes (in the form of labels or holograms) are assigned to each product. These are then scanned at every link in the supply chain using either specialized devices or smartphones. Failure to scan the right code on the right product reflects immediately in the supply chain database and allows the manufacturer to identify the point of failure and take appropriate action. This dramatically reduces the chances of intrusion by counterfeit organizations into the legitimate supply chain.

Added benefits

Anti-counterfeiting solutions such as track-and-trace systems allow manufacturers to not only keep track of their inventory at all stages of distribution but also make it easier to manage rewards and build customer loyalty. For more information on this, click here.

Conclusion

Counterfeiting is an exceedingly complex phenomenon. Legal deterrence like fines and imprisonment work to reduce the spread of fraud but do not eliminate it entirely.

With the global counterfeit industry on the rise, companies must take advantage of technological solutions to fight counterfeit. Some of the most effective methods include product authentication methods and track-and-trace systems.

While immensely effective in nearly eliminating the intrusion of counterfeit goods into legitimate supply chains, these solutions also offer added benefits such as comprehensive supply chain management, reward management, and loyalty-building.

For more on supply chain security, click here. To find an ideal track-and-trace solution for your business, click here.

Pashmina products to get BIS certification against counterfeiting

In a recent development in Leh, Ladakh the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has released a domestic standard for identification, marking and labeling of Pashmina products – to certify their purity.

“The move will help to prevent the counterfeiting of Pashmina products and will protect the interests of artisans and nomads who are responsible for the production of raw materials and textiles”, said Smriti Irani, Minister of Textiles.

The step will help in determining better prices for the goat-herding community in Ladakh and handloom artisans producing authentic Pashmina items which are at a disadvantage due to lot of poor marketing practices, as per an official release.

Currently, around 2,400 families are rearing 2.5 lakh Pashmina goats which are domesticated and reared by nomadic communities called the Changpa in the Changthang region of Greater Ladakh. Around 50 metric tonnes of finest grade Pashmina (12-15 microns) is produced in Ladakh.

The Ministry of Textiles is developing a proposal for funding ₹20 crore for a dehairing plant in Leh that will lead to the progress of the Pashmina sector in the region of Ladakh.

Source: fibre2fashion

Why counterfeiting diminishes the chances of foreign direct investment?

The world is a global village as there is a high interdependence of countries on each other in different fields. From world-wide-web to culture, technological innovation to trade, military alliances to transport there are many scenarios in which the world seems to function as a unified whole.

Among the above-mentioned aspects, trade and investment play an important role in the economic development of countries. Of late, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has become quite important for third world countries when it comes to their economic development. FDI impacts the economic growth of the host country (a country in which investment is done) through the transfer of new technologies, organization of human resources, increase in employment, linking of global markets, the rise of infrastructure and much more.

However, the rise of counterfeiting can damage the FDI prospects of a country and its potential to create valuable innovation centres. FDI is important for both advanced and emerging economies to increase their productivity and output. Lack of intellectual property rights and anti-counterfeiting measures diminish the chances of FDI. In India, the industries most impacted by lack of FDI due to counterfeiting include equipment manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

The total reduction in FDI due to counterfeiting and piracy is quite harmful to aspects like employment, infrastructure and socio-economic development. Countries are sceptical of investing in prospecting countries with weak IP laws as it may lead to counterfeiting of their products, theft of their technologies, reduction in their profits and damage to the brand image.

With the implementation of stringent regulatory measures and anti-counterfeiting technologies, duplication can be prevented to a large extent which will further brighten the chances of foreign direct investment. For ensuring impeccable security against counterfeiting it is must that supply chains must also be secured. A comprehensive outlook towards anti-counterfeiting guarantees the economic development of a country.

If you require customized anti-duplication solutions for securing your products and supply chains, then call us on +91–785-785-7000 or mail us at connect@holostik.com

How counterfeiting tarnishes the brand’s image?

There has been a humungous growth of fake brands in different industries. From counterfeit apparels to spurious medicines, fake footwear to duplicate watches the list seems endless. According to Global Brand Counterfeiting Report, “The amount of total counterfeiting globally has reached to 1.2 Trillion USD in 2017 and is bound to reach 1.82 Trillion USD by the year 2020.”

Brands are not just losing millions of dollars every year due to counterfeit products but are also facing many other challenges. Perhaps, one of the biggest challenges faced by organizations due to counterfeiting is the damage to their brand reputation.

Over the past few years, the proliferation of fake goods has bought a major change in consumer buying behavior. According to sources, a large number of consumers are less likely to buy products from a brand if its reputation has been tarnished due to counterfeit goods. Even in the e-commerce space, consumers are less likely to buy products from websites that have earned a bad name due to counterfeiting.

Counterfeit products have a direct impact on the confidence of the consumers buying a brand. A large number of consumers who have purchased fake products unknowingly never buy the same product again and tend to switch over to another brand.

If a consumer is duped into buying a fake product and later discovers that the product is not worthwhile then it leads to a blow on his confidence in the product and the brand. Moreover, such brands are more susceptible to negative word-of-mouth publicity.

So, if a consumer receives a fake product then there are high chances that the genuine brand and manufacturer may earn a bad reputation.

In the online space, customers leave negative reviews for such brands which jeopardize their reputation. This sometimes creates a false narrative that even brands manufacture low-quality goods. Regular news related to counterfeiting of a specific brand can create an assumption in the minds of consumers that the brand is not serious regarding duplication and is not taking stern measures against counterfeiting.

However, companies across the world are now taking serious measures against the problem of counterfeiting. The online retail giant Alibaba which has earned a bad repute for counterfeit products has made a task force to handle counterfeits on its platform. Besides organizations have also implemented different anti-counterfeiting products and solutions to secure their products and brand.

Holostik provides tailor-made anti-counterfeiting products and solutions which help in securing the product and the brand’s image from the problem of counterfeiting. If you are facing the problem of duplication call us now on +91–785-785-7000 or mail us at connect@holostik.com.

Counterfeit Peppa Pig items seized by Economic Offence Wing in Mumbai

In order to fight fake products and stop the illegal use of its Intellectual Property (IP), Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd. Joined hands with the Economic Offence Wing of Mumbai Police to conduct raids on businesses dealing counterfeit products of its brand Peppa Pig. A big number of counterfeit products were seized during the raids.

Anil Lale, General counsel, Viacom18 said that the Govt. of Indian has seriously taken up the issue of piracy and illegitimate use of IP over the past few years. We are proud to work with public agencies like the Department of Industrial Policy& Promotion, Maharashtra Cyber Crime Cell and Mumbai Police’s EOW in the fight against counterfeiting.

He also said that it is important to admit that the sale and purchase of fake products are serious offences as piracy and diminishes the brand’s royalty. As rightful IP rights owners, we feel it is our duty to the customers that they may not receive fake products.

Tim Pfeiffer, SVP Business Affairs, Family & Brands, Entertainment One said that eOne believes in taking vibrant brands from screens to stores and it is very encouraging to see our international partners and authorities undertake efforts that ensure only real products reach our young audience. Counterfeit merchandise is not only against the licensor’s interest but also has a colossal impact on the safety and health of the user due to the absence of quality standards.”

The Economic Offenses Wing has been fighting against counterfeit products. In the last few years, they have been able to dismantle businesses which deal in the trade of counterfeit products.

Source: Exchange4media.com

CropLife India conducts workshop on counterfeit pesticides

CropLife India recently organized a workshop for pesticide dealers at Vadodara. The workshop was organized with the help of Kruti Charitable Trust. The workshop was attended by pesticide dealers from Vadodara and Bharuch districts who discussed the rising problem of counterfeit, spurious, substandard and unregistered/unlicensed pesticides.

The key officials present at the event were Jatinbhai Patel, Agriculture – Extension Officer; Hiranbhai Patel, Secretary, Central Gujarat Dealers’ Association and Mukeshbhai Raj, President, Dealers’ Association, Karjan.

Asitava Sen, Chief Executive Officer, CropLife India while speaking at the event said, “CropLife India will continue its fight against duplicate and illegal pesticides. The products are unable to kill the pests and are harmful to the crops and the environment. Dealers play an important role in the supply chain as they can ensure that farmers receive only genuine pesticides.”

The workshop focused on the various ways of detecting counterfeit, spurious, substandard and unregistered/unlicensed pesticides. The dealers shared the challenges they have to face while company representatives shared their perspective on probing the source of pesticides. Educating farmers became an important part of the entire discussion.

The workshop also focused on different ways of detecting fake, spurious, substandard and unlicensed pesticides. The dealers shred their challenges which they face regularly whereas company representatives discussed their views on determining the source of fake pesticides. The workshop helped the dealers on different procedures and aspects of avoiding fake products.

CropLife India has an ongoing anti-counterfeit mass awareness campaign in the villages of Amod, Bharuch, Karjan and Padara districts of Gujarat. CropLife India has tied up with Kruti Charitable Trust for this campaign who would reach out to 175 villages across the district for raising awareness on fake, spurious, substandard and unregistered/unlicensed pesticides.

Until now CropLife has organized rallies, puppet shows, video shows, messaging through loudspeakers for creating awareness among people regarding spurious and illegal products.

Source: NewsVoir

The negative effects of counterfeiting on the economy

Counterfeiting is a trillion-dollar illegal business having its presence in almost every part of the world. Today, counterfeiting is posing a threat to not just the consumers but also to the economic growth of the nations.

According to an OECD and EUIPO report, “Global sales of counterfeit and pirated goods have soared to 460 billion euros ($522 billion) a year, amounting to a whopping 3.3 per cent of world trade.”

The report also states the nations most affected by counterfeiting which includes the United States, Japan, South Korea and the EU states. However, the effects of counterfeiting are not just visible in developed countries but are also hampering the growth of the developing world.

Let’s discuss some of the impacts of counterfeiting on the economy of a country:

Evasion of taxes: Counterfeiting leads to evasion of taxes. The mammoth counterfeiting industry sells its products in the market without paying taxes to the government. This leads to a loss of the government exchequer and finally, the government is not able to spend enough on welfare projects and schemes.

Rise in unemployment: Since the counterfeit industry takes away the profits of credible companies, they are not able to recruit new employees. The financial instability of the industries creates massive unemployment which is linked indirectly to the problem of counterfeiting.

Diminishes foreign investment: It has been generally seen that countries with weak IP laws and poor regulatory measures become the breeding ground for counterfeit activities. Such countries blur their chances of foreign investments. Counterfeiting diminishes the chances of foreign direct investments and thus block the economic growth of a country.

Fuels other black-market activities: Counterfeiting fuels other black-market activities and is a lucrative business for organized criminals. With the money acquired from the sale of counterfeits, they fund their vast network, which is involved in drugs trafficking, human trafficking, illegal arms, prostitution etc.

Finally, we can conclude that counterfeiting has multiple negative effects, which are very harmful to the economic growth of the country if not checked on time by authorities and the respective governments of their countries.

To get the best anti-duplication and products and solutions call us on +91–785-785-7000 or mail us at connect@holostik.com.

Large stock of illicit cigarettes and cash seized by authorities in Bristol,UK

Of late, (HMRC) Her Majesty’s Revenue Customs has confiscated approximately 500000 suspected illicit cigarettes and around 700kg of hand-rolled tobacco in Bristol. Officers from HMRC searched four residential addresses and two business premises on June 12 as a part of an investigation into cigarette and tobacco smuggling.

A spokesperson from HMRC said that £80,000 in cash was seized by the authorities. Five men and woman were also arrested on suspicion of falsely evading excise duty., A woman was also arrested on suspicion of money laundering and another man arrested on suspicion of illegally evading excise duty.

Illicit white cigarettes have no legal market in the UK. These cigarettes are mass manufactured in factories in Russia and the East and are imported illegally to the UK. No duty is paid on these cigarettes and health warnings are also missing.

On the other hand, counterfeit cigarettes are illegally manufactured and sold by a party other than the original trademark or copyright holder. Counterfeit hand-rolling tobacco is like cigarettes which are illegally manufactured and sold by a party other than the original trademark or copyright owner.

Source: bristolpost.co.uk

Counterfeits are losing sales and business in UAE

The number of counterfeit items has dropped down after Khaleej Times took a joint initiative against the presence of counterfeit goods at different locations like a raid on Karama shops.

Abdul, 40 who owns a shop for ladies’ bags and purses in Karama said that that he has faced a setback in his business. Earlier when he had opened the shop, he used to make Dh2,000 but now he makes only Dh100. Sometimes he is not able to sell a single item.

This is the third time he had opened a shop in Karama. Five years ago, the authorities had fined him Dh50,000 during a crackdown against fake products.

“After paying that hefty fine with great difficulty, I closed down my shop and went back to India for a few years.”

He further said that after paying the big fine he closed down his shop and went back to India. On the rising issue of fakes, he says, “Many years ago people used to display fake items at the counter but now they are hidden underground or inside secret basements. Many tourists still come to buy fake products they do not mind buying a copy.

Ahmad Almheiri, senior manager of the business protection department at the DED, said: “If they are selling in a secret apartment, it means they know that the DED is always in the market and that it’s hard to sell counterfeits in Dubai.”

Source: Khaleej Times

Cosmetic products in UK are the most counterfeited goods

According to a recent survey by global investigation firm Kroll, perfume and cosmetic products are the most counterfeited goods in the UK. The report states that cosmetic or beauty products were the sixth most counterfeited products after toys, chargers, clothing, bags and sports shoes.

The firm stated that duplicate consumer products are a growing part of the global economy and pose a risk to the economy and consumers. The outcomes of the counterfeit goods are dangerous and have many negative effects.

Benedict Hamilton, Managing Director at Kroll said, “We have seen how the counterfeiting of seemingly harmless clothing items such as jeans and t-shirts is actively contributing to the financing of global terrorist activity, so in addition to consumers’ health, there is also the broader world impact to consider.”

He also said that counterfeits don’t begin and end with the seller on the street; there is an entire supply chain in operation to create bogus goods and to stem the flow, we need to find the source.

On tackling the counterfeit goods, he said, “Only by following the chain of fake goods all the way up to those producing them and raising awareness of the problem, will we be able to safeguard against the potential dangers posed by counterfeits.”

Source: cosmeticsbusiness.com