Counterfeiting – The scale of the Global Counterfeit Market has been estimated at between 5 - 7% of world trade. An OECD report conservatively estimates the world market for counterfeit trade in 2015 at nearly $1 trillion
Codel was originally conceived as method to protect luxury textile branded goods. The company developed a textile micro-filament that can carry unique identifiers in barcodes, scan-able using standard barcode scanning software and woven into textile goods. The company won a series of awards for ground breaking innovations in this field, including advances that produced a version for protecting cigarettes and a new patented software application, ‘Codeltrack’ which, through a central registry of cryptographically protected unique product identifiers, enables consumers, as well as supply chain and policing agencies to verify product authenticity in the field.
During development, it became clear that sophisticated product marking (tagging using chemical markers, microdots, holograms etc.) could only address the problem in a very small way. Either it was still too easy for counterfeiters to copy, or too difficult for consumers to check. Instead, what was needed was an easy way to mark products with a unique identity, using, primarily, standard print technology (although for remote scanning at a distance RFID and other technologies can be useful for high value items) and to do this randomly. This makes copying impossible without advance knowledge of the data and makes the consumer validation of those marks easy by going to a website, entering the code and getting immediate confirmation or denial. As long as enough consumers cared enough to perform the check, it would quickly and cheaply render the counterfeiters’ task untenable. Codel calls its random unique marks Validation References (VR) and they look like typical software licences. (eg R36IJ GLVNY IN215 ZRHQZ WL1IA)