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Ben Muis, Founder of Authicode

Anti-Counterfeit becomes interactive with UK based Authicode®

Counterfeit activities are still an ever growing problem for brands, rights owners and authorities across Europe. The United Kingdom in particular has a very active counterfeit market. Its customs authorities deal with almost double the number of cases compared to the next European country, Germany.

The 'Report on EU customs enforcement of intellectual property rights' shows a 49% increase in the number of cases dealt with in the UK between 2010 and 2011, against a 15% average increase across Europe. More than 93% of these cases (in value) were related to trademark infringement.

Not only that, but almost all cases dealt with by the customs authorities during that year have been initiated at the request of brands or rights owners. The reports show that the number of customs initiated cases has been dropping dramatically as the problem of counterfeit has grown.

In other words, brands need the knowledge to alert authorities with the right details that will allow them to take action.

What is required to give brands day to day protection and control over the tracking of genuine products?

To arm brands against the ever increasing sophistication of the counterfeit industry, we need a platform which can pull the different disciplines within a brand together and creates transparency from manufacturing right to the consumer.

Not only should it link the consumer directly to the brand, but it also needs to be compatible with many other anti-counterfeit methods and existing supply chains.

This will allow the brand to truly take control and create their own unique cocktail of anti-counterfeit tools whilst obtaining a full picture of the issues and their locations. Now targeted action is possible more often and what was hidden becomes visible. Visibility is power. Information is evidence.

A new, more holistic approach was needed to allow brands and rights owners to protect their products and their consumers

This is why I created Authicode as a platform for brands to use, enabling the consumer to simultaneously benefit from both a confident brand experience and brand protection.

It has been designed for a new age where anti-counterfeit includes the consumer, marketing departments, supply chain staff and of course those that look after brand protection.

Authicode displayed on a smartphone

Authicode allows the consumer to interact directly with the brand on a specific product, wherever they are. The system uses Cloud methodology mixed with additional secure hosting practices and is compatible with all modern smartphones, tablets and computers. It provides the consumer and the brand owner with live product and location information anywhere with an internet connection.

The system does allot more than give the consumer accurate information about the authenticity of the product. The multi-layer security system is very innovative and visual in its approach. Not only does it subsequently show the brand where counterfeit activity is taking place, but is also quantifies the problem, allowing the brand to make real time decisions on instant action.

On top of that Authicode shows grey market movements and at the delight of marketing heads it also visualises the location and concentration of your genuine product purchasers.

Direct consumer interaction at store level and beyond builds trust

Because the platform has consumer interaction at its core, it allows you to interactively maintain your warranty programme or to provide incentives, regardless of where the consumer bought your products.

Having that direct link with your genuine end consumers, or brand fan as I call them, opens up a world of opportunities. The interactions allow brand owners and licensors to really get a handle on their genuine items as well as counterfeit activities.

The system also makes your brand fans allot more confident in the process of buying your products and, crucially, rebuilds trust in genuine branded goods.