Spotting Fake Products

From vital medicines to sophisticated airplane parts, failure to identify counterfeit products can result in serious harm to users. The new ISO 12931:2012, “Performance criteria for authentication solutions used to combat counterfeiting of material goods”, will make it easier to expose fakes, everywhere in the world. As a result, the new standard should increase consumer confidence, make supply chains more secure, and help public authorities to create and implement preventive, deterrent, and punitive policies.

Counterfeiting has become one of the major activities of organized crime. Consumers do not always have the time or expertise to spot fakes, and are easily tricked into thinking a product is something else. With most global brands targeted by knock-offs, industry should welcome the new ISO 12931 standard.

Trade in counterfeit products amounts to over $500 billion annually and the numbers are growing every year. Fake goods do not offer the same safety, environmental, quality, and regulatory guarantees as genuine products, which puts individuals, communities, and the distribution chain at risk. The trade of counterfeits also has wider economic implications, including lower earnings and job losses for legitimate workers, brand value damage for targeted companies and rights holders, and tax losses for governments.

The problem is getting worse as more transactions take place online, making it easier for fakes to cut across territorial borders. And, it’s not just luxury goods at stake. Counterfeiting covers everything, from electronics to pharmaceuticals. Not only does this prevent fair market competition, but it has scary safety implications.

Authentication solutions (holograms, taggants, marks, etc.) help companies make sure their products can be distinguished from fakes. The ISO 12931 standard will make it easier to provide reliable evidence to identify genuine products throughout the entire material good life cycle. By specifying performance requirements for authentication tools, ISO 12931 will harmonize global action and ensure effectiveness. It can be used by organizations of all types and sizes, and applies to both products and/or their packaging.

ISO 12931:2012 can be ordered at this web page at the ANSI eStandards Store.