Giving counterfeiters a hard time

Giving counterfeiters a hard time

J├╝rgen Metzger

2007083172-5825910Diffractive optical authe-ntication features provide economical and effective protection against forgery while strengthening the consumer’s trust in the brand-name product.

Dangerous trade

Each year, at the external borders of the European Union (EU), an immense quantity of fraudulently produced articles is being seized. These goods would fetch billions of Euros on the legal market. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost in the EU as a result. It can only be assumed that the true scale of the problem is much higher than the number of detected cases suggests. Besides economic problems, there are also risks and dangers to the consumer when sensitive products such as medications, automotive spare parts are involved. For example, there are regular reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) about cases of counterfeit medicines involving serious consequences. The active ingredients in these products were either absent, or present in very small quantities. In several cases, the composition was actually extremely hazardous to health.

The most effective barrier against counterfeiting and tampering is either a combination of suitable available security technologies (such as optical authenticity features made with special security materials) or non-visible information written within security inks, or a product or packaging that has a copy proof appearance. Bank notes are perhaps the best example of how these features can be combined. However, such a combination is not usually possible for use with clothing, watches, cosmetics, consumer articles, medicines, or automotive spare parts. This is where diffractive authentication features from Kurz can help. The Trustseal range, which comprises stand-alone security features, offers a very high, functional level of security. A flexible element of any design, these features can also be integrated easily into the product appearance or the manufacturing process for existing products. When applied to the product, packaging or even as a seal, they offer marked visual differentiation and high recognition rates that strengthen the purchaser’s trust in the brand. Optical security features from Kurz can self-destruct, if required, when someone attempts to tamper with the product. What’s more, the design possibilities for this foil are virtually unlimited. Different technological processes from holography to digital computer technology can be used to generate the tools for foil production, depending on the customer’s security-level requirements.

A flagship of product identification

Even though a hologram is an effective security feature, it is by no means beyond the skills of a professionalcounterfeiter. For that reason, Kurz has developed an even more effective security technology. Trustseal’s diffractive optical structures are produced by means of a computer-based, proprietary process and replicated in a foil polymer structure. These striking structures can be recognised easily, even under unfavorable lighting conditions. Additional security elements, such as information that can only be read using a special viewing apparatus and so-called nanotext, also provide high-level protection against counterfeiting. Trustseal technology can also be used to implement diffractive bar codes, thereby allowing automated authenticity verification. A holographic forgery would be readily identifiable on account of the bar code’s Trustseal microscopic structures. All in all, the best protection against product counterfeiting is to always stay one technological step ahead of potential counterfeiters. Kurz’s Trustseal technology can help you do just that.

(The author is head, sales management, Brand Protection Division, Leonhard Kurz GmbH & Co KG, Germany.)