September 2015

“The Risk to Both Human Health and Brand Integrity Will Continue to Spur Anti-Counterfeit Efforts That Allow Real-Time Authentication of Every Item Sold and Consumed Around the Globe”


Brand Protection 2020, 2015 Interpol IP Enforcement Conference

By James Shore

On June 19, 2015, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California announced the indictment of 11 people for conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, and conspiracy to introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce. The indictments stemmed from the illegal distribution into the U.S. market of the counterfeit liquid-dietary supplement 5-Hour ENERGY.

Sadly, this type of news does not come as a surprise to brand-protection professionals. But it does underscore the growing risk of counterfeit and unsafe food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, pesticides and fertilizers, not to mention electrical and fire-related products, throughout the developing world and increasingly here in the United States. The indictment highlights perhaps the most disturbing trend in counterfeiting: the ability of almost anyone anywhere to create a “picture perfect” packaged counterfeit product. The product ingredients themselves oftentimes include the cheapest and most readily available ingredients with absolutely no concern for product safety. As we have seen too many times, this unsafe counterfeit product was launched into the lives and environment of an otherwise unaware populace.

The best way to combat the introduction of unsafe counterfeit products is to maintain 100% control of the supply chain through authentication of each product, from creation to consumption…