RFID Technology Helping to Deter Counterfeiting

A recent annual report from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies highlight the economic problems associated with counterfeiting. These agencies made 14,841 seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods for fiscal year 2009; the domestic value of the goods was $260.7 million.

Consumer goods, electronics, and computers are at the top of the list of counterfeit products brought into the U.S. Aside from the economic implications, consumer safety is also at risk because of counterfeiting. Pharmaceuticals were the top commodity presenting potential safety risks to consumers. India, which was the third leading country of origin for counterfeit or pirated goods at 1%, was responsible for 86% of counterfeit pharmaceuticals seized in fiscal 2009.

According to the Homeland Security Newswire, embedded RFID tags will become standard practice for identifying products. RFID technology continues to develop and costs have improved such that RFID tags are becoming more prevalent in a variety of industry and manufacturing applications. Innovative technologies, such as electronic fingerprinting systems, create an electronic fingerprint to identify the RFID tag as a way to detect counterfeit products.

Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals have been using bar coding technology as a means to identify and track drugs.  Standard RFID can store manufacturer, product, and unique serial numbers for every bottle or other retail package, and this data is quickly available and difficult to counterfeit.

To view the full Intellectual Property Rights Seizure Statistics report, go to Fiscal 2009 Seizure Statistics.

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