|ISO – Why it's good for Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Suppliers and Users|
No Agreed Upon Definitions
The standard starts by defining the different classes of authentication technologies: overt, covert and forensic level. Many companies claim that their technology is somehow completely different and in a class of its own from other authentication solutions. If one follows ISO guidelines, companies can no longer classify themselves this way and remain credible.
Clears up Misconceptions about Track & Trace
Many in the industry have been saying for years that if a track & trace system is good/strong enough, additional security is not needed. ISO 12931 states that track & trace and authentication are related but that one is not a substitute for the other.
Defines what Makes an Authentication/Anti-Counterfeiting Solution Good
What makes an authentication/anti-counterfeiting solution good might seem obvious but it is not so. Is a good anti-counterfeiting solution one that keeps products from being counterfeited or one that allows counterfeits to be easily spotted? Is a good solution one that relies solely on internal resources or one that brings in external resources as necessary? Is a good solution overt, covert, forensic or some combination? Different organizations have different needs, so what works for one organization might not work for another. But ISO does a good job defining criteria that apply for all organizations.
Define Evaluation Criteria to Assess Authentication/Anti-Counterfeiting Solutions
One needs evaluation criteria for any business decision. But the evaluation criteria for authentication solutions are more numerous and more complicated than for example buying a new computer or a new cell phone.
The standard helps decision makers by putting all of the evaluation criteria in one organized list so that nothing gets forgotten and also gives organizations benchmarks for how to evaluate the criteria for their own situation.
What the Standard does Not Tell You
ISO 12931 provides much needed guidance but it does not do everything. One area that ISO does not address is where technology solutions end and law enforcement begins in the fight against counterfeit. This is different for every country so it is important for organizations to evaluate what help they will get from their local law enforcement and what evidence they need to show in order to receive their services. By the same token, it is also important for organizations to understand what qualifies as admissible evidence in court in their jurisdiction.
What implications will this have in the real world?
ISO 12931 solves a couple of practical problems that should help improve the anti-counterfeiting industry.
Customers and technology suppliers not communicating properly – It is not unusual for customers to approach us without knowing the first thing about taggant technology or anti-counterfeiting. When the customer is not upfront about this, it can lead to a lot of confusion. A readily available standard will give potential customers a point of reference for industry terminology and industry standards.