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Special report: Ferreting out fakes
Counterfeit wristwatches and handbags used to be restricted to back alleys. But these products are now swamping the Internet on a massive scale.
June 20, 2010 11:38 by Liz Peek
What we know is that Kodak is infusing products with something called Traceless, that Taylor describes as “ultra covert authentication technology.” The material can be picked up by a hand-held wand – a significant breakthrough. A company whose products are mysteriously migrating out of its distribution channels can now follow the leak. Similarly, store owners can with a wave of the wand discover fake goods being stocked on their shelves. Kodak controls the product and the readers, tightly screening its approach even from its clients.
Sensing an opportunity, Kodak has moved in the past year to provide clients with consulting services, providing vendors with a “holistic” approach to reining in copy-cat production and sales of their products. Taylor says companies are currently spending some $7 billion for brand protection worldwide, a number that is sure to grow. One of his team’s pitches recently was made to Kodak itself, which has seen its own cameras knocked off.
O’Neill confirms that all of these approaches are necessary to blunt the growth of counterfeiting. The profits are so great that it will take a full-out assault to deter the thieves. “We need to work the authorities, educate consumers and go after the money trail.” Asked if he thought the NYPD was winning the battle, O’Neill sighs. “We’re holding our own,” he says. All things considered, that could be viewed as a victory.