Why I need it

$2.3 trillion is the estimated global economic value of counterfeiting and piracy from the International Chamber of Commerce and International Trademark Association.

 

No one is escaping this global problem.

From fake pharmaceuticals to counterfeit #UL marks on batteries, from fake computer chips to untraced parts going on aircraft, from fake gold dropped on the markets to fake safety parts in nuclear reactors, this problem is growing on a regular and alarming pace.

At Alitheon we have developed some amazing technology that with a simple photograph is disrupting the world of physical authentication, identification, and traceability. We are the missing link connecting the physical world to the digital world.

Alitheon’s proprietary solution can supplant outdated, lower tech solutions, and provide authenticity, identification, and traceability confidence to manufactures, sellers, and consumers.

 

EXPLORE SOLUTIONS

Alitheon
Traces Supply Chains

Alitheon
Protects Precious Metals

Alitheon
Authenticates High Value Items

Alitheon
Detects Counterfeits

 

 

Going a Little Deeper on Countering the Counterfeiters using FeaturePrint

Alitheon™ takes a unique approach to anti-counterfeiting. Instead of pursuing the increasingly futile task of detecting counterfeits, our patented technology detects authentic items legitimately entered into the supply chain. All other items are declared questionable. This new and powerful approach applies to currency, aircraft and auto parts, computer chips, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, artwork, precious metals, and any other physical object.

 

What is a Counterfeit?

The question of what constitutes a counterfeit object is subtle. The definition certainly includes illicit copies of genuine objects but goes far beyond that. Technically, counterfeit objects include “Canal Street” fakes or “knockoffs”, but those fool no one nor do they really intend to. Far more damaging in the consumer space are near-perfect copies of high-priced items and in the industrial space, illegal near match copies of high-consequence items from medicine to brake pads, to nuclear reactor parts.

There have been reports, for example, of Rolex watches made in China that are impossible for even a Rolex expert to distinguish from a legitimate watch without completely taking the watch apart down to its individual elements. For the purposes of this paper, we will use as a practical definition that a counterfeit is an item being used deceptively or accidentally in place of a legitimate one.

Copies. This definition includes near perfect copies of items that are then sold in place of those original items. It also includes functional equivalents of a legitimate object that do not come from an authorized source and that may or may not have malicious additional content or capabilities. Items that purport to provide a certain functionality and either do not provide it at all or provide it inadequately certainly fit into this definition. Counterfeit drugs, for example, may contain little or none of the desired ingredient. Similarly, consumer-grade computer chips may be functionally identical to military-grade ones of the same kind but not have adequate thermal properties or clock speed. On the other hand, such copies may provide all the functionality of the original but without the amortized cost of research and product development nor the warranties and guarantees offered by the original manufacturer.

While any counterfeit may be as like a real object as another real object of the same kind, those made on the same assembly line or with the same kind of equipment are particularly difficult to detect. Under such circumstances, the standard approach of detecting the counterfeit cannot work because there is nothing at the level of intentional features that distinguishes a midnight run or a gray market diversion from a legitimate object.

Midnight runs. Two classes of illegitimate objects may be produced at the same manufacturing facility on the same equipment as legitimate items. The first class of these are the so-called “midnight runs” where after the plant is supposedly closed for the night, runs are made on the equipment to produce items not registered to the inventory of the company owning the IP and brand related to the product.

Gray market. The second set of essentially identical items comes from the gray market. Products may often sell for vastly different prices in different countries or areas even though they come from the same source. Legitimate items sold in one country can find their way unauthorized into another to take advantage of arbitrage situations.

Supply line mix-ups. One further example of wrong items being substituted for the proper ones can occur in manufacturing facilities. If multiple similar, but not identical parts are produced in a plant, and if they are (for example) too small to serialize, they can fool a human when they end up at the wrong location in the plant and be put into assemblies for which they were not designed.

 

The Current Philosophy of anti-Counterfeiting

Most anti-counterfeiting efforts fall into two related categories: detection of counterfeits and making counterfeits harder to produce. They are related because if a difficult to produce feature is on the object, a non-expert can (in theory) tell whether it is missing or whether it is defective in some way. We will in this section review some of the current approaches to preventing counterfeiting and in the following section show how Alitheon’s FeaturePrint avoids the problems of current methods.

Secure supply chain. If the path from manufacturer to end use is short and direct, it is much easier to prevent the introduction of counterfeit items. The more complex the supply chain, however, the less successfully that supply chain is kept secure.

Tagging and other ID proxies. Most direct anti-counterfeiting efforts are based on one of two things: adding an ID tag to an object or adding difficult-to-duplicate features. ID tags include bar and QR codes, taggants, diamond dust, specialized labels, and numerous other approaches. Such tags can themselves be counterfeited, removed from one object and placed on another, fall off, or get damaged.

Adding hard-to-duplicate features. The other main anti-counterfeiting approach is to add details to the object that are not required for its function or identification but that are there to make it harder for the counterfeiter to duplicate the item. This approach is the origin of the current arms race between manufacturers and governments on the one hand and counterfeiters on the other. It is the approach used by most countries to protect their currency.

There are three main reasons this approach has largely outlived its usefulness.  The first is that originally the idea was that anyone coming in contact with the item could check the feature and determine whether or not it was there and if there, whether it was defective. Second, adding such features is expensive because, by definition, they must be at a level extremely hard to produce (otherwise they would not defer counterfeiters). Finally, this approach has outlived its usefulness because it is based on a false assumption: that the feature is difficult to duplicate. De facto, what one person can intentionally create, another can intentionally duplicate. Today there are counterfeits that are indetectable by the manufacturer, not to mention the public.

 

FeaturePrint and Counterfeiting

Alitheon avoids all the above-mentioned problems with anti-counterfeiting efforts by identifying known-legitimate objects. Using proprietary and patented optical AI, we don’t try to detect counterfeits - we irrefutably identify originals. Using just a photo taken with an off-the-shelf camera, we can identify the one of many specific items. By identifying it, we de-facto show that any other item, is not that item and thus is not authentic. This can also be used to track & trace each individual item. All with just a photo.

How do we do it?

For that you will have to contact us.