Q). What is an Authentication?
Authentication: In general terms, The process of identifying an individual, usually based on a user name and password. In security systems, authentication is distinct from authorization , which is the process of giving individuals access to system objects based on their identity. Authentication merely ensures that the individual is who he or she claims to be, but says nothing about the access rights of the individual. While in brand protection it refers to the task of checking that a document or product is in fact authentic. The authentication of a product is the ability to certify that a product is what it claims to be. The value of an authentication (or authenticating) device is therefore based on this character of non-falsifiability and on the degree of certainty it confers to the user. A consumer should be able to spot any attempt to imitate an authentication marker, and it should be extremely difficult, if not impossible to for counterfeiters to have access to the technology necessary for reproducing marker of authenticity.

Identification : The identification of a product refers to the ability to differentiate it among others in a batch. A number or a bar code for example performs this function. It also meets other needs than those related to the fight against counterfeiting (inventory management, invoicing, etc.), and the affixing of an identification device is also a prerequisite to the traceability of a product. Identification differs from authentication: identification does not guarantee the authentic character of a product. Identification processes are often reproducible (for example, a bar code can be photocopied). Identification devices play a role in the implementation of the strategies to combat counterfeiting, but cannot rightly be qualified as “anti-counterfeiting technologies.”


Q). Why Brands & Organisation needs authentication solutions?
Counterfeiting is termed as crime of 21st century. It is growing and increasingly in almost all sectors. For example, According to US Center for medicine in the public interest, “15 percent of medicines sold worldwide are fake, killing around 7,00,000 people in a year’’. Unfortunately, there are no signs that the criminals associated with fraud are slowing down. Brands are under attack in form of counterfeiting, tampering and diversion taking away human life and causing unnecessary misery and human suffering. What more, it can harm manufacturer by leading to loss of revenue, liability in case of lawsuits, and loss of brand integrity. At this situation, we believe that you must be taking suitable action at your end. However, we just want to remind you that anti-counterfeiting technologies with combination of tracking technologies play an important part in your anti-counterfeiting strategy in your fight against counterfeiting.


Q). What are types of authentication technologies / solutions?
There are a wide variety of technologies available today that support brand protection strategies. These technologies are applied in the three main areas of anti-counterfeiting, anti-tampering, and tracking and tracing. It is always recommendable to adopt layered approach combining these technologies. 

  • Anti-Counterfeiting: The common feature of anti-counterfeiting technologies is that they assist in identifying a product as suspect. Some anti-counterfeiting technologies go further, however, and allow a product to be verified as genuine.
  • Anti-Tampering: Found more in the food and pharmaceutical industry that in the electrical industry, anti-tampering technologies are used to protect a product from adulteration or replacement. An anti-tampering device that is intact a product is a sign that the product is likely to be genuine.
  • Tracking and Tracing: Tracking and tracing technologies are used to determine where and when a product (taking its components into account) was manufactured, when it has been and when, and its current status in the supply chain. Some technologies allow for determining where a product is supposed to go. Thus, tracking and tracing technologies are used to fight unauthorized distribution, which is frequently linked to counterfeiting.



Q). How to select authentication solutions & vendor?
We are mentioning few points below which could be of your help in adopting / identifying right authentication solution according to your needs.

1. Purpose of using security technology:The organisation needs to understand the purpose of using security technology. As a first step most organisations should assess the risk to their brand.

2. Selection of security technologies:While selecting authentication solutions it is always recommended to adopt a layered approach combining use of overt, semi-covert, and / or covert technologies to provide a solution that is easy to identify and extremely difficult to replicate.

3. Selection of vendor providing authentication solutions: Once the solution is identified, the next stage is to identify an ethical vendor. The selection of vendor is as important as selection of authentication solution. The ethical vendor will work as your authentication partner, will understand and identify your problem areas and concerns and will suggest the optimized solution. You can take help from trade association such as ASPA & International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) in selecting ethical vendor. All ASPA members adheres best practices and work under strict code of conduct of ASPA. The list of ASPA member can be view at https://aspaglobal.com/membership/current-members-2/. 

All effective solutions, broadly speaking, help in identifying and authenticating the original from counterfeit. They deepen the divide between genuine products and their counterfeits by making a genuine product distinguishable in some manner that is difficult to replicate using commercially available manufacturing processes. However, it is very important that a market surveillance program is in place, so that as soon as an infringement is identified, it is immediately tackled using administrative and/or legal recourse to punish the guilty.


Q). There are various authentication technologies available, How Brand owner / Authorities can select correct solutions?
In today’s fast changing technological world, scores of different security technologies are available in the market. Some are proven authentication technologies like Optical Variable Devices (OVD’s) such as hologram, Security Inks, Taggants, Watermark and some others are perceived to be an authentication technology.

In this scenario, you can take the help of ISO Standards and Guidelines published by leading organisation across the globe. The few of them are mentioned below for your read references;

StandardsISO has published various standards which sets out the performance criteria for purpose built authentication solutions. 

ISO 12931:2012 | Performance criteria for authentication solutions used to combat counterfeiting of material goodsThis is a very useful standard for a brand owner wishing to adopt globally accepted good business practice and systems to fight the menace of counterfeiting. It is intended for all types and sizes of organizations that require the ability to validate the authenticity of material goods. It is intended to guide such organizations in the determination of the categories of authentication elements they need to combat those risks, and the criteria for selection of authentication elements that provide those categories, having undertaken a counterfeiting risk analysis. Such authentication elements can be part of the material good itself and/or its packaging. The criterion applies to the material good and/or its packaging. Similarly, there is an another standard ISO DIS 21976, which clarifies the requirement of tamper verification features on medicinal products packaging.

Guidelines: Time to time, many organisation have come up with industry specific guidelines on selection of authentication technologies.


Q: I wish to learn more about Authentication technologies / solutions, what are the options?
ASPA published various articles and presentation on across the sectors. It also published a quarterly magazine “The Authentication Times” which offers in-depth analysis, news, research, article and expert opinion on latest developments on Anti-Counterfeiting, Brand Protection, Serialization and Traceability in and out of India.  Few of articles and presentations are 
listed below for your kind reference.  



We hope you are using / considering authentication technologies / solutions as your brand authentication partner. However, in case, if you required any further assistance, please feel free to contact us or write to us at info@aspaglobal.com.