There are few things more irritating than buying something in good faith, only to discover it is a fake. A pretender. Counterfeit.

Increasingly, the problems of fakes and piracy have become a huge part in the business strategies of companies. When a fake product is bought unwittingly, not only does the customer get conned, so too does the originator of the product that is being copied. The damage to brand image, for example to high quality handbag marques such as Chanel and Hermes, when cheap, poorly made copies of their designs are spread around the world, is hard to quantify – suffice to say, it’s not good for business.

Globally, the impact counterfeit and imitation products has on the business economy is huge. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) estimated that up to $250 billion dollars a year is lost due to illegal copies of a huge range of products.

Particularly vulnerable to the counterfeiter’s attentions are products such as wallets, handbags, clothing, perfume, watches, medicines and toiletries. But that said, no products are immune to the copiers and the more desirable and top-end it is, the bigger the profit margins; so fakers like to aim high.


Protect yourself

So what strategies can the commercial world put in place to outwit the counterfeit con-merchants?

Applying for registration of trademarks on products is essential so that in the event of a dispute, you are on solid ground. Taking professional advice in areas such as trademark and copyright is advisable. If your product is being sold (and manufactured) in multiple countries, it may be the case that different arrangements and registrations are required in various jurisdictions. Ask an expert.

Sticky stuff

As with most things these days, with the evolution of technological advances, new weapons against the fakers are becoming available. Many high-tech developments are very expensive for small businesses to justify, however there is one new option available that works well from a security and costing point of view.

Yes, one of the most exciting and popular new protective measures against counterfeiting comes in the form of hologram stickers. When a product, whether it’s a bottle of artisan vinegar, a CD or DVD or even a concert ticket is emblazoned with a dynamic hologram sticker it is given a mark of authenticity. Using hologram sticker printers it is now possible to label up many items with a three or two dimensional, attractive and eye catching stamp of approval.

So what exactly is a hologram? It is a diffractive optical device created using laser technology. It is impossible to copy, scan, duplicate or print such holograms effectively with any known method. This makes custom hologram designs inviolable and super-secure, immune to imitation.

Of course, we have seen hologram technology in our passports and credit cards for some years now.  It is no secret why the national banks of ninety different countries use hologram technology on their currency and banknotes.

The multi-layered, dynamic designs which appear to have movement when the image is adjusted, take the guesswork out of purchasing high quality or big ticket items that are at risk of being copied.

From the manufacturer’s point of view, getting labels from hologram sticker printers to place on their products is a God-send. Easy and quick to apply, hologram stickers disintegrate if an attempt is made to remove them, making them tamper-proof. So buyers know that if a product lacks the requisite holographic stamp of approval, it isn’t the genuine article.

Other applications for hologram labels include document authentication, general retail goods, concert tickets, collectors items, ID cards, antiques, food products and computer software.

Not only do hologram stickers carry out a vital role in the fight against product piracy, the actual designs are beautiful in themselves. Multi-layered, textured designs in super reflective and intricate patterns draw the consumer’s attention in a way no normal label ever could. If your product is jostling on the shop shelves, trying to grab a bit of the action over the competition, then a super spangly, custom-designed hologram label isn’t going to do it any harm.

If you operate a small to medium sized business and sell or manufacture products at risk of counterfeiting, then hologram stickers will put up an extra wall of defence. With a concerted and joined up effort, let’s take the fight to the fakers with hologram technology – yes, let’s stick it to the counterfeiters with hologram sticker power!