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How Packaging is Helping to Combat Counterfeit Products

Combating Counterfeit:

Counterfeit consumer goods are goods (often of inferior quality) made or sold under another brand’s name without their permission or authorization. These goods infringe on the legal brand’s trademark or patent passing the good off as the real brand despite being an inferior, possibly dangerous version of the real product.  According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, these illegitimate goods impact the economic growth of legitimate businesses negatively. These goods aren’t just harmful to the brand perception of consumers but also can be harmful or even fatal to consumers. It is essential not only for brand protection but also for consumers’ health and safety that we focus more heavily on the anti-counterfeiting packaging market. In the United States, these faulty goods are growing at an alarming rate. Popular products like automotive parts, cosmetics and safety equipment continue to appear in the market despite the government’s effort. The responsibility ultimately lies with consumers. This is why it is of utmost importance that consumers know what to look for when trying to identify an illegitimate good compared to a legitimate one. The first thing to check for is pricing and is normally the first security solution consumers have in identifying these products. The pricing of illegitimate products is oftentimes (but not necessarily always) lower than that of the real product. Now with the saturation of counterfeit products in the market, this difference may not be noticeable, maybe a few dollars or even cents. It is best to research, read reviews and contemplate if saving a few dollars is worth the potential risk these products carry. The place you purchase the product can also help you determine whether the product is real or not. Oftentimes, counterfeit products are sold through unknown third-party sellers. It is best to buy directly from the manufacturer or brand owner. This is key to ensuring that the product you are purchasing is actually the product that the brand promises to its consumers. The packaging is also a key factor to note. Nowadays with all of the holographic and quality packaging, it is easy to identify a counterfeit product versus the legitimate one. Legitimate label designs contain trademarks, copyrights, and logos. The coloring, label size, and custom stickers of the package are consistent. In counterfeit packaging, look for missing words, misspelled words, or loose/peeling packaging. Counterfeit products will generally include a misspelled word or opt to take a word off the packaging.   

How Counterfeit Products Impact the Economy:

Counterfeiting and piracy are evasive, making up a multi-billion dollar industry. Estimated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as the European Intellectual Property Office, Counterfeit goods account for almost 2.5% (that’s over $450 billion) of international trade in 2013. This is an 80% increase since 2008, showcasing that counterfeiting isn’t going away. Society suffers from the lost tax revenue and economic activity when they are purchasing counterfeit products. The illegal revenues aren’t typically reported which in turn, that revenue will not be put back into the economy by funding hospitals or infrastructure plans. Counterfeiting alone is accountable for losing almost billions in tax revenues in North America alone not counting the Asia Pacific or European markets.  Counterfeit products also increase the vicious circle of crime. These organizations form close ties with criminal organizations as they need someone to run them. Counterfeiting money, job loss and illegal work are all results of the underground industry. These products also take away genuine employment opportunities. Economists have estimated that almost 2.5 million jobs (and increasing) have been displaced by counterfeit products. Many legitimate workers are opting to work in counterfeiting after their own legitimate jobs have been displaced by it.  Innovation also continues to suffer. Innovators and creators from around the world work tirelessly to come out with products. They take months, years or more planning the perfect product, patenting it and producing it. Innovators have been noted describing the discouragement they feel when they work to create a product that is counterfeited and copied less than 2 months later.  The market share of the legitimate product is lost to the illegitimate products making it harder for these new technologies to achieve success. The desire that many of these brilliant minds have are tossed aside because of fear that their product will simply be stolen in less than a year.  

How are company’s dealing with counterfeit products?

Anti-counterfeit packaging is a new technology aimed to ensure the authenticity of a product. This packaging contains qualities that act as a barrier to counterfeit products and ensure brand security. According to Research and Markets, Food & Beverage packaging is the leading anti-counterfeit packaging. With over 35% in 2019 and expected growth in the overall market to expand to almost $130 billion, anti-counterfeit packaging is quickly emerging.  Holograms while the most popular solution, are already becoming replicated by counterfeiters. QR codes; or quick response codes, smart labels, NFC, track and trace, and blockchain technologies are combined with digital and physical solutions. QR codes, for example, are familiar to most consumers and don’t require any additional apps.

Where Will We Go From Here?

Overall the battle against counterfeit products will continue. Security labels and QR codes are just the first innovation the industry is using in labeling products to combat illegitimate products. Many companies like Limitronic, have introduced technology for manufacturers to utilize to keep their products safe. Limitronic Color With the Limitronic V7 Color, effortlessly print full-color labels, QR codes, and graphics onto a variety of substrates.  You can find out more on our website today to see how these machines may be able to help in the anti-counterfeiting packaging market.  

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