Beef Up Security with Unique Solutions
Technology-based security measures help companies maintain their products
Bootleg music and video downloads. Designer knock-offs. Identity theft. How do you tell the genuine article from a fake when low-cost, sophisticated technology is aiding even the teen next door in a rapidly-expanding world of counterfeits and diverted goods?
"There are staggering amounts of counterfeiting and diversion going on in the world today," said Doug Johnston, president of Verification Security Corporation in Spokane, Wash.
According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB) of the International Chamber of Commerce in London, counterfeiting accounts for between five percent and seven percent of world trade, or approximately $350 billion annually. The CIB has investigated hundreds of counterfeiting cases worldwide, for goods ranging from pharmaceuticals to wall coverings.
Johnston, seeing a market need, matched his years of experience in corporate management and data processing with partner Steve McGrew's extensive document and product security expertise. McGrew holds more than two dozen patents in holography and optical document security and displays.
The partners experimented with magnetic ink, which has been used for decades in MICR encodings, but for which they developed a unique twist—the MagDot.
"Each and every MagDot is unique in its internal randomness due to the laws of statistics and physics," Johnston said. "It is uncontrollable by the counterfeiter."
The pair then developed readers to analyze each unique dot's pattern and verify it based on a database that can be correlated to a customer's product database, carton numbers, etc. The system authenticates and tracks documents and products throughout the entire distribution chain.
The MagDot, often used in conjunction with a bar code, hologram or other overt security measure, is typically printed as a 3 mm square dot, but can range from 1 mm square up to a quarter-inch in size. It can be hidden behind a hologram, logo or foil, remaining completely disguised.