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Donfucius Says: October 31st, 2014. Random Bits Of Wisdom.

  1. “As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it!” — Buddy Hackett
  2. “Nature gave men two ends – one to sit on and one to think with. Ever since then man’s success or failure has been dependent on the one he used most.”Donfucius
  3. Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” — Aaron Rogers Quoting Francis of Assisi
  4. “Diplomacy is the art of saying “Nice doggie” until you find a rock.” — Will Rogers
  5. “Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?” –Patti Molloy
  6. “The way we’re going… if I called up another pitcher, he’d just hang up the phone on me.” — Any Brewers Manager
  7. “When someone is impatient and says I haven’t got all day,” I always wonder, “How can that be? How can you not have all day?” — George Carlin
  8. “We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.” — Old & Wise Japanese Proverb
  9. “Blessed are the cracked – for they are the ones who let in the light.” — Donfucius
  10. “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” — Will Rogers
  11. “I don’t mind how much my Ministers talk, so long as they do what I say.” — Margaret Thatcher

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Posts Tagged ‘layered protection’



Mixing It Up.

March 21st, 2010

Mixing and rotating overt, covert, and forensic technologies can thwart counterfeiters.

By Donald J. Dobert
President and Chief Operating Officer
ATL Security Label Systems

It has been said dozens of times already, there is no silver bullet against counterfeiters and diverters. You’ve got to layer, layer, and layer some more. In the photograph below we have illustrated the different “layers” of a 3D hologram. These invisible layers give the security label three color kinetic movement.

These “layers”, which are not immediately known to the counterfeiters, can be mixed and rotated to protect original products and documents. In the example below a German ID card has hologram layers that reveal a pattern when the card is moved back and forth.

In the photo below, courtesy of Graphic Security Systems Corporation, Lake Worth, FL, you can easily see how (during manufacturing) each “layer” is structured with different anti-counterfeiting properties.

Just what exactly does layering mean? What layer comes first, what layers need constant updates, and what layers stay put? Who decides when and when to layer, when to update the layers, and when do you need to inform FDA?
A “mix and rotate” approach brings multiple technologies together in one package. To “mix and rotate” can be compared to software updates. As computer hackers invent new “bugs,” software companies develop new “anti bugs.” Every time you as a brand owner produce your product, you can “mix and rotate” the following security features:

Tamper-evident breakaway closures.
Invisible, hidden markers.
Anticounterfeiting holograms.
Color-shifting inks.
Tamper-evident unit closure.
Mass-serialization.
Two-dimensional bar codes.
RFID chips.
Void security closures or destructible tapes.

Here is an example. Tamper-evident substrates can employ destructible, paper-based face stock or nonreproducible covert security fibers. Distribution can be limited to approved secure suppliers for a secure chain of custody. Tamper-evident substrates can make label removal impossible without visible damage. Such features effectively deter remarking and help ensure product authenticity. They also provide simple in-field authentication.
In addition, color-shifting inks and other covert features can be public signals of authenticity. Invisible forensic markers alone can be used to detect whether a product has been repackaged or relabeled. Such forensic markers may be used in the varnish on the package as well as customized or serialized codes and holograms.
Combining these technologies, the hologram would be an overt feature, the forensic marker would be a covert one, and the code could be either overt or covert, depending on what you are doing with it. Special codes can be purchased or created that pertain to only one product, which tells the manufacturer where it was made, how it was distributed and on what days. While there are codes that are very obvious and basically list manufacture date and product code, there is a wide range of options in customized codes.
A Ubiquitous Example
Modern U.S. currency has changed many times over the past few years. With the exception of the one-dollar bill, all of these notes are obsolete (see photo below). This is because the U.S. government “mixes and rotates” (M&R) its overt and covert techniques to stay one step ahead of the counterfeiters.

Shown below are examples of anti-counterfeiting “layered levels” of the “ever-changing” “face” of U.S. notes. You will notice the different colors when compared to the notes that are now obsolete:


Overt and covert M&R anticounterfeiting measures include fine detail with raised intaglio printing on bills. This allows nonexperts to easily spot forgeries. As a side note, on coins, milled or reeded (marked with parallel grooves) edges are used to show that none of the valuable metal has been scraped off. This detects the shaving or clipping (paring off) of the rim of the coin. However, this does not detect sweating, or shaking coins in a bag and collecting the resulting dust. Since this technique removes a smaller amount, it is primarily used on the most valuable coins, such as gold.
For paper bills, in the late twentieth century, advances in computer and photocopy technology made it possible for people without sophisticated training to easily copy currency. To combat this, national engraving bureaus began to include new (more sophisticated) anticounterfeiting systems such as holograms, multicolored bills, and embedded devices such as strips, microprinting, and inks whose colors change depending on the angle of the light. New technology also includes the use of design features such as the “Eurion Constellation,” which disables modern photocopiers.

Detecting counterfeit bills often isn’t easy to do by eye. One bogus $100 bill believed to have been made in North Korea, for instance, would be nearly impossible for a novice to identify as a fake. It has the security strip on the left side of the bill and a watermark of Ben Franklin (whose portrait is on the bill) on the right-hand side, as well as replicating other security features. However, its paper contains no starch and doesn’t reflect ultraviolet light, which is one sign of a counterfeit.Photo Below. The portrait on a genuine $50 bill (left) compared to a counterfeit. Notice the relative flatness and lack of detail on the fake bill.

Photo Below: The portrait on a genuine $50 bill (left) compared to a counterfeit. Notice the relative flatness and lack of detail on the fake bill.

Photo Below. $50 bill with three security features highlighted. A section of the security thread is visible in the circle near the portrait. The large circle to the right shows the watermark, and below that the color-shifting ink is circled.

There is now a scanner that searches for missing covert features in bogus “Super Dollars.” The device looks at several aspects of the bill to confirm its legitimacy. U.S. paper money is printed with magnetic ink, but that’s also used for many fraudulent bills. On real bills, the ink is distributed in a consistent pattern whose magnetic resonance can be mapped. The magnetic map is stored in the scanner, as well as three other maps containing ultraviolet, infrared, and other measurements taken from legitimate bills. Scanning a bill takes less than one second. If there’s any spike or anomaly in any of the threads of data, the scanner rejects the dollar.

Photo Below. Beginning with Series 2004, $10, $20, and $50 bills received a redesign with several changes to their overall look, notably the addition of more colors (see the picture of the $50 bill above). Probably the most important new security feature is the addition of EURion Constellations, a distinct arrangement of symbols (in this case, numbers) which triggers many color photocopiers to refuse to copy the bill.

SUPER LABELS=SUPER DOLLARS

What I have just described is a “layered” approach in anticounterfeiting. You may not be the government fighting “super dollars,” but then again, you are fighting to protect your brand from counterfeiters. The money a brand owner saves in brand protection and litigation should be considered as “super dollars” to the brand owner. In the process (of saving money), the brand owner will be protecting the public, and he can advertise as such.

PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
Here’s how forensic authentication works in a M&R layered approach:
A unique digital code, “ATL 12-IDGJ”, is set-up for a brand.
A digital code is incorporated into the label through multiple-entry points (inks, varnishes, adhesives).
The digital code is also incorporated into (or linked to) the pedigree documentation.
A scanner will indicate that “ATL 12-IDGJ” is the established digital code, allowing traceability.

Such uniqueness cannot be duplicated because the invisible, nondegradable forensic digital code is virtually impossible for the counterfeiters to duplicate. It only takes a second to authenticate a product anywhere in the world.


Today, FDA does not need to know what type of anticounterfeiting measures you are taking. In fact, to protect themselves, brand owners should limit such details to a certain number of trained individuals who are monitoring what features are being used and for how long.
Most important in the anticounterfeiting arsenal is the brand owner’s mindset. Nothing changes until this does. Counterfeiters have the mindset that they can break the laws, provide fake or diluted products, and they do not care if they place the public in harms way. We (you and I) have to assume the mindset that says to the counterfeit, “No, you can’t copy my products.”

Thank you for your time. Donald J. Dobert, President, ATL.

Recent Counterfeiters And Their Illicit Deeds – Leonardo DiCaprio In “Catch Me If You Can!”

January 24th, 2010

I am amazed when people look at a problem and choose to do nothing. It is very similar to talking about the heavens and stars. Why is it that when you tell a person that there are 400 billion stars in the sky – he will believe you? But tell this same person a bench is wet and he will have to touch it. The same holds true for counterfeiting. Most people know it’s a big problem, yet most people stay in denial, hoping the problem will not affect them (when in reality it already has). To help give you a perspective on the huge scope of the counterfeiting problem, I have chosen to tell you five stories about counterfeiters:

Counterfeiting History – Part 1: Frank William Abagnale Jr worked under 8 identities during the 1960s, including his first as Pan American Airlines Pilot Frank Williams. In 5 years, he passed over $2.5 million in counterfeit checks. This fraud was in 26 countries and all 50 states. He was arrested in France at an Air France ticket counter when an agent recognized his face from a wanted poster. In the movie based on his life, “Catch Me if You Can”, the real Abagnale made a cameo appearance as a French policeman (photo above). Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks were the stars.

Counterfeiting History – Part 2: Anatasios Arnaouti is a criminal from Manchester who led one of the most ambitious forgery operations in history. He and his accomplices were jailed in 2005. The total amount of counterfeit money they printed is unknown as their forgery operation had been in production for several years, and was capable of producing tens of thousands of counterfeit notes each day. The extent of the crime was considered so severe that it could have driven the United States and UK economies into panic.

Counterfeiting History – Part 3: In 2004, French police seized fake 10 euro and 20 euro counterfeit bank notes worth a total of around 1.8 million (pounds) from two laboratories and estimated that 145,000 counterfeit notes had already entered circulation.

Counterfeiting History – Part 4: In 2006, a Pakistani government printing press in the city of Quetta was accused of mass producing huge quantities of counterfeit Indian bank notes. The “Times of India” reported this scandal, based on Central Bureau of Intelligence investigation. The money was allegedly used to fund terrorist activities inside India. It is believed that bombings in Mumbai were funded using this fake currency.

Counterfeiting History – Part 5: Today the (hardest to detect) counterfeit notes are claimed to be US dollar bills produced in North Korea, called “Super Dollars” because of their high quality. The US government believes they have been circulating since the late 1980s and that they serve two purposes: as a source of income and to undermine the US economy. The United States has taken steps to “Mix & Rotate” the production of dollars. For more details, please reference “The President’s Corner” from October 7th, 2008.

How To Fight Back
Detecting counterfeit bills often isn’t easy by eye. A bogus $100 bill (believed to have been made in North Korea), would be nearly impossible for a novice to identify as a fake. The paper it is printed on contains no starch and doesn’t reflect ultraviolet light, which is one sign of a counterfeit. It has the security strip on the left side of the bill and a watermark of Ben Franklin (whose portrait is on the bill) on the right-hand side, as well as replicating other security features.

There is now a scanner that searches for missing covert features in bogus “Super Dollars”. The device looks at several aspects of the bill to confirm its legitimacy. U.S. paper money is printed with magnetic ink, but that’s also used for many fraudulent bills. On real bills the ink is distributed in a consistent pattern whose magnetic resonance can be mapped. The magnetic map is stored in the scanner, as well as three other maps containing ultraviolet, infrared and other measurements taken from legitimate bills. Scanning a bill takes less than one second. If there’s any spike, any anomaly in any of the threads of data, the scanner rejects the dollar.

What I have just described is a “Layered” approach in anti-counterfeiting. You may not be the government fighting “super dollars”, but then again, you are fighting to protect your brand from counterfeiters. The money you save in brand protection and litigation should be considered as “super dollars” to you. In the process (of saving money) you will be protecting the public.

Here How Forensic Authentication Works: (1) A unique digital code, “ATL 12-IDGJ”, is set-up for your brand; (2) Your digital code is incorporated into the label through multiple entry points (Inks, Varnishes, Adhesives) (This is a “mix and rotate” “layered” approach); (4) The digital code is also incorporated into (or linked to) the Pedigree Documentation; (5) If the scanner indicates “ATL 12-IDGJ” then the established digital code allows traceability; (6) This uniqueness cannot be duplicated; (7) Thus it is impossible to counterfeit.

It only takes a second to authenticate your product anywhere in the world (scanner photo above). This is because the invisible, non-degradable forensic digital code is virtually impossible for the counterfeiters to duplicate. This amazing technology is from ID Global, the leader in scientific identification.

Counterfeiters are attacking us on all fronts. Protect yourself and your brand. Benjamin Franklin said it best: “Even a tiny leak can sink a great ship.”

U.S. Anti-Counterfeiting History – Recent Demoninations And “Layered” Covert Techniques.

January 22nd, 2010

Criminals around the world have found that they can maximize gain with relatively little capital outlay through product fraud. It could be pharmaceuticals, baby formula, toothpaste, brake pads, or toys. The more fraud that we allow to take place, the more patients will be put at risk for counterfeit medicines, or, the more chance that your children (or grand-children) will have toxic lead paint on their toys. The problem goes beyond violation of intellectual property rights. Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. People die each day from unsafe counterfeited items. The problem is as old as mankind.

Early currency was plainly labeled “To Counterfeit Is Death”. The example below is a 4 Pound Note issued by Pennsylvania in 1777.

The theory behind such harsh punishments was that one who had the skills to counterfeit currency was considered a threat to the safety of the state, and had to be eliminated. Far more fortunate was an earlier practitioner of the same art, active in the time of the Emperor Justinian (527 A.D., mosaic shown below), who got the nickname “Alexander The Barber”. Rather than executing the counterfeiter when he was caught, the Emperor decided to employ his financial talents in the government’s own service.

Modern U.S. Currency has changed many times over the past few years:

With the exception of the one-dollar bill (above), all of these notes are obsolete. This is because the United States Government “Mixes & Rotates” (M&R) its overt and covert techniques to stay one step ahead of the counterfeiters. Shown below are examples of anti-counterfeiting “layered levels” of the “ever-changing” “face” of U.S. notes. You will notice the different colors when compared to the notes that are now obsolete:

Overt and Covert M&R (Mix And Rotate) anti-counterfeiting measures include fine detail with raised intaglio printing on bills. This allows non-experts to easily spot forgeries. As a side note, on coins, milled or reeded (marked with parallel grooves) edges are used to show that none of the valuable metal has been scraped off. This detects the shaving or clipping (paring off) of the rim of the coin. However, this does not detect sweating, or shaking coins in a bag and collecting the resulting dust. Since this technique removes a smaller amount, it is primarily used on the most valuable coins, such as gold.

For paper bills, in the late twentieth century advances in computer and photocopy technology made it possible for people without sophisticated training to easily copy currency. To combat this, national engraving bureaus began to include new (more sophisticated) anti-counterfeiting systems such as holograms, multi-colored bills, embedded devices such as strips, microprinting, and inks whose colors change depending on the angle of the light. New technology also includes the use of design features such as the “Eurion Constellation” which disables modern photocopiers.

This is very similar in concept to the “Canada Green” overprint on the U.S. 1862 note (used almost 150 years ago). The tint made it very difficult to photograph (complete story and photo are in the President’s Corner dated October 6th, 2008).

To protect your intellectual property, ATL recommends that you educate yourself about overt and covert anti-counterfeiting (anti-piracy) technologies. We also recommend that you take a long look in the mirror. You, as a brand owner, have the power to do the right things. You have the power to protect the public against diversion, dillution, and counterfeiting. By taking these extra steps you will find out something very surprising in the journey – you, in all likelihood, will be saving money in the process.

Bill Cosby said it best: “A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.”

Benjamin Franklin’s Anti-Counterfeiting Secrets

January 21st, 2010

Counterfeiting has been in existence since the dawn of civilization. Did you know “The United Colonies” had to deal with counterfeiters? This Four Dollar Bill (November 29th, 1775), printed in Philadelphia by “Hall and Sellers”, had an actual “leaf” in the design on the reverse side. This idea came from Benjamin Franklin. The uniqueness of the leaf made the currency very difficult to counterfeit. In this era, counterfeiting was considered so serious that it was punishable by death, and was so noted on some currencies. Today, as in 1775, counterfeiting is not a “victimless” crime.
Twenty Shilling Note, To Counterfeit is Death. (Philadelphia: Printed by Franklin and Hall, 1759). Paper money printed from ordinary type was easy to counterfeit, but Franklin ingeniously solved that problem by printing pictures of leaves on every piece of money. Counterfeiters could not duplicate or even imitate the fine lines and irregular patterns. In the Twenty Shilling note (shown below), the phrase “To Counterfeit Is Death” is printed directly above the leaf.
If you make something of value, everything from jeans to life-saving pharmaceuticals, counterfeiters are studying your supply (or cold) chain. They will strike where you are most vulnerable. For you to think that you are not at risk is to be in a state of denial.

A very wise man at Abbott Labs, Mike Douma, said: “Don’t be afraid to uncover things that you are not proud of when you look at your products and processes.”

ATL has many overt and covert techniques to provide you with a “layered approach” in brand protection. We strongly recommend a mix and rotate (M&R) approach. In this mode, manufacturers vary the size, location, and amount of anti-counterfeiting “layered” protection. In this manner you are a step ahead, and counterfeiters will be trying to catch up to you.

Article Break: Donfucius’ “Election Whimsy-A Collection…”
“If life were fair, Dan Quayle would be making a living asking ‘Do you want fries with that?’” — John Cleese

Loss Prevention Via Security Packaging.

December 31st, 2008

Increase in Drug Tampering Reports & Loss Prevention Spark New Security Considerations

Photo Above: Your profits and consumer loyalty can explode and literally “go up in smoke”, just as these defective (fake OEM) batteries did. Take simple steps in loss prevention through security packaging.

Efforts to identify and intercept phony medications are taking on a greater urgency amid increased concerns that tampering and counterfeiting may become an attractive vehicle for organized crime rings and even terrorists. Very few companies treat these events as viable loss prevention opportunities.

The profitability of expensive new drugs used to combat cancer and other diseases along with the growth of Internet and cross-border purchasing has raised the potential for exploitation motivated by greed.
Over the last decade there’s been a huge increase of tampering with or copying high value drugs that were largely injectables; now the trend seems to be more in changing labels-buying low potency materials then affixing high potency labels.

For example, vials of the anti-anemia drug Epogen were discovered with phony lot numbers. After analyzing the contents, the drug’s manufacturer sent letters alerting pharmacists and distributors that the vials each contained 2,000 units of the drug-far less than the 40,000 claimed on the labels.

A month later, manufacturer Ortho Biotech Products issued a warning to health care professionals that counterfeit lot numbers of their anti-anemia drug Procrit had been uncovered in Texas. In the process of the Epogen investigation, the Procrit vials were also found to contain concentrations of the active ingredient 20 times lower than the amount listed on the labels. How does this affect you, the consumer? How does this affect you, the brand owner? Simple: as a consumer, any fake drug can kill you. As a brand owner, lawsuits can cripple your company, and loss of public faith in your product could be devastating.

Photo Above: Security Label. Where is the covert feature? In the ink? In the adhesive? In the varnish? Just on page three? As a brand owner, only you will know, and this can be changed from production run to production run.

Consider the following loss prevention steps.

Secure your packaging against counterfeiting, tampering, fraud and diversion. This requires collaboration with someone who has the expertise and resources to provide a solution that is tailored specifically for your brand. ATL is one of the most respected security solutions providers. We offer a wide variety of technology, and we have the engineering capability to design, manufacture, and implement a security packaging solution that makes sense for you.

Photo Above: Security Labels can be “tracked and traced” all over the world, in a matter of seconds. This is a very valuable attribute for inventory controls and loss prevention.

Our printing, holographic, and overt/ covert layering production experience allows ATL to customize a security solution that can incorporate a combination of security layers such as holography, forensic digital codes, micro text, serialization, bar-coding (including 2D), track and trace, and tamper evident materials. We can combine these techniques to develop an effective security packaging solution that can work in combination with each other, or as a rotated defense (different features with varried production runs).

Photo Above: Jim Stiglich and Jeff Lord (ATL Security Label Specialists) travel the globe educating consumers and brand owners alike in anti-counterfeiting loss prevention.

Many of these solutions add a decorative dimension to your package – adding brand authentication and brand protection to your design. These same solutions reaffirm to your customers that you care about their safety and well being. And here is the kicker….

Loss Prevention. As a brand owner you can solicit your insurance company to reduce your rates. You can prove to them that you have the necessary security features that will aid law enforcement agents in the field. You will also have the evidence in place that will stand up in court. At pennies per unit, isn’t preventing a loss worth your time and effort?

Photo Above: Donald Dobert, President, ATL, speaks at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (Cold Chain Conference). The subject was anti-counterfeiting and loss prevention. Other speakers included Phil Viggani (ID Global Corp.), Nathaniel Lipkus (Gilbert’s LLP, Lawyers, Patent & Trademark Agents), and Craig Thurber (United States Department of Homeland Security).

Earl Nightingale said it best: “As Ye Sow, Ye Shall Reap…..”
“We will receive not what we idly wish for but what we justly earn. Our rewards will always be in exact proportion to our service.”

The Tainted Baby Formula/ Milk Tragedy – From Wisconsin To China. Is It Zhende (Real) Or Jiade (Fake)? How To Fight Back.

October 17th, 2008
Chinese Child Lies In Hospital - Victim Of Tainted Milk

Chinese Child Lies In Hospital - Victim Of Tainted Milk

A hundred years ago, babies who couldn’t be breast-fed usually didn’t survive. Today, although breast-feeding is still the best nourishment for infants, infant formula is a close enough second that babies not only survive, but thrive. Commercially prepared formulas are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
The safety of commercially prepared formula is also ensured by the agency’s nutrient requirements and by strict quality control procedures that require manufacturers to analyze each batch of formula for required nutrients, to test samples for stability during the shelf life of the product, to code containers to identify the batch, and to make all records available to FDA investigators.
The composition of infant formula is similar to breast milk, but it isn’t a perfect match, because the exact chemical makeup of breast milk is still unknown. Human milk is very complex, and scientists are still trying to unravel and understand what makes it such a good source of nutrition for rapidly growing and developing infants. John C. Wallingford, Ph.D., an infant nutrition specialist with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says that “infant formula is increasingly close to breast milk.”
More than half the calories in breast milk come from fat, and the same is true for today’s infant formulas. This may be alarming to many American adults watching their intake of fat and cholesterol, especially when sources of saturated fats, such as coconut oil, are used in formulas. (For adults, high intakes of saturated fats tend to increase blood cholesterol levels more than other fats or oils.) But the low-fat diet recommended for adults doesn’t apply to infants.
“Infants have a very high energy requirement, and they have a restricted volume of food that they can digest,” says Wallingford. “The only way to get the energy density of a food up is to have a high amount of fat.” While greater knowledge about human milk has helped scientists improve infant formula, it has become “increasingly apparent that infant formula can never duplicate human milk. Human milk contains living cells, hormones, active enzymes, immunoglobulins and compounds with unique structures that cannot be replicated in infant formula.”

Illicit Baby Formula In Wisconsin
In 2007 a New Berlin (Wisconsin) grocery wholesaler was under investigation by the FBI on suspicion of buying and selling large quantities of stolen infant formula. Among other things, FBI agents saw approximately 200,000 cans of infant formula, some of which bore indicia (indications) of having been stolen. The FBI indicated that the company regularly received shipments of suspected stolen formula and repackaged the formula before it was sold.
The company “cleaned” the cans by removing store labels and price tags, wiped dust from the cans, repacked the cans into cartons of six, and shrink-wrapped the cartons. One search of trash at the firm’s warehouse (by agents in 2006) revealed that the company had sold more than 17,000 cans of infant formula over an unknown time period. These illicit sales would have generated more than $200,000 in revenue. More about safety risks below (at formula safety).

The China Tragedy. A Blow To Free Society.

Fear Grips Parents Over Tainted Milk & Baby Formula

Fear Grips Parents Over Tainted Milk & Baby Formula

In China, recent deaths related to tainted baby formula should trigger an alarm on more than one front. In the Chinese language, there is one pair of words that you hear constantly: zhende (meaning real, authentic), and jiade (meaning fake, imitated). This pair of words is especially important when shopping, as it depicts the difference in quality between brand name and counterfeit goods. But beyond a difference in quality, zhende and jiade also imply a difference between trust-an unwritten contract-and distrust-the absence of such contract. The deadly, ongoing scandal with tainted baby formula signals an erosion of Chinese trust in supposedly high quality, brand name products-zhende-and a setback to the development of a contract society.

The Chinese economy is growing by double digits. Their citizens hope that this will develop into a “reform and opening” to bring a higher standard of living. Part of this standard of living is symbolized in brand name products. Both small and large cities alike, with the support of officials at all levels, have stores emblazoned with names like Nike and Adidas, among others. Many of these stores and products are jiade (fake). The labels may be inscrutably similar, but the quality will almost assuredly be different. To domestic consumers willing to spend the money on the real deal, however, there is an unspoken contract: we are willing to pay if you are willing to deliver. When it comes to the well being of children, parents are universally willing to pay for zhende (authentic).

The company that is responsible for the tainted baby formula (we will call Comp-X) has essentially become a counterfeit of itself. During months of questions, tests, and reports from both parents and at least one pediatrician, the company continued to sell a product that was not zhende (authentic). Many believe that the Olympics propaganda and journalistic “security” measures stifled coverage of the fake baby formula, the “tainted product”. China is not yet a free and open society, so I believe that China’s period of strict censorship actually provided the company with a real (zhende!) opportunity. It was an opportunity they did not seize.

Hong Kong Police Check Shelves For Counterfeited Baby Formula And Tainted Milk Powder

Hong Kong Police Check Shelves For Counterfeited Baby Formula And Tainted Milk Powder

Above: Logo Of Product Being Removed From Chinese Stores

Above: Logo Of Product Being Removed From Chinese Stores

Comp-X did not quietly recall their tainted formula. They did not instruct health care centers to warn parents of babies with kidney stones that their children’s formula may be playing a role. Instead, Comp-X bribed noisy victims, ironically, with offers of more of their products. The responsibility that Chinese citizens expect from Comp-X was absent. Customers expect to fulfill their part of a public contract with Comp-X through paying more. In return, they expected a product that was not jiade (fake). Yet, for months, infants were suffering the result of Comp-X’s broken contract.

Inspection And Testing Of Counterfeited Milk Powder/ Baby Formula

Inspection And Testing Of Counterfeited Milk Powder/ Baby Formula

This is not the first deadly crisis involving baby formula. In 2004, 13 children died after being repeatedly fed formula that, unbeknownst to their parents, contained no nutrients whatsoever. The difference between the two crises, however, again illustrates the larger problem. The perpetrators of the 2004 incident were the makers of a counterfeit, off-brand product-jiade (fake). This time around, the perpetrator is Comp-X, a brand long held as zhende (authentic).

The difference between buying zhende (authentic) and jiade (fake) generally just means the difference between enjoying a treat and suffering upset stomach. For others, buying zhende or jiade can mean the difference between a year’s salary and a herd of dead livestock, as in cases of counterfeit animal feed. In 2004, although no parent wished his or her child ill, the price of buying jiade was a child’s life. Now, however, to the horror of millions, and a huge setback in the development of a contract society, the lines have blurred.

Why Target Baby Formula?
In the United States, baby formula is one of the more popular items with counterfeiters because of the ease of selling it. It has great street value. There are a lot of young mothers who are willing to pay 50 cents on the dollar for stolen formula. There is a high demand because baby formula is expensive. The consumers buying the stolen formula are young parents with not a lot of money to spend. Today, stolen formula is sold at places like flea markets or over the Internet. This poses a health risk because baby formula is temperature-sensitive.

Formula Safety
The conditions in which counterfeiters are warehousing perishable goods (including those with an expiration date) can be dangerous-even fatal-to consumers. Some baby formula has been stored in garages with rodents running across storage facilities that have no temperature controls whatsoever. When it gets hot the baby formula will break down in nutritional value if it is kept out of its correct temperature range.

The counterfeiters are good at hiding their craft. As part of their operations, the counterfeiters will clean, repackage, and re-label goods to make them appear as legitimate products. They will also switch labels, particularly if items are damaged or out of date. They think nothing of switching labels from one brand of formula to another. Counterfeiters also make counterfeit labels. (see article dated October 8th, 2008, “The Bucket Shops”).

In some cases counterfeiters may even sell the products back to the retailer, unbeknownst to them. And frequently, counterfeiters will sell the products via Internet Web sites, such as eBay. The ease with which criminals can use the Internet to sell the stolen goods now makes it more difficult to investigate these crimes.

Fighting Back

In addition to working with law enforcement, many retailers are trying to make it harder for counterfeiters to disguise the origin of the product. Many of them now stamp their product with their company name and logo, and a store number so that the retail source of the product can be identified if uncovered in a theft or for other purposes, such as a product recall.

Above: Parents In China Worry - The Chain Of Custody Has Been Lost And Children Are At Risk

Above: Parents In China Worry - The Chain Of Custody Has Been Lost And Children Are At Risk

Combating The Counterfeiters. ATL Security Solutions: Each member of the supply channel has to understand that the solution must be a collaborative, united effort to assure the safety of products that pass through their hands. This includes confirming the legitimacy of the item’s source; the doctor, wholesaler, ADR, distributor, manufacturer, and API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) sources.

All it takes is one bad apple: It could be one counterfeiter; one diluted product; one re-dated product; one product with fake labels; one false repackaging run… if any of these events occur, and the secure supply channel is broken, the patients are at risk.

ATL Security Labeling Systems (TM) has a solid product line to assist you in the detection of counterfeiting and diversion. Our brands make it more difficult to steal.
From the pedigree papers to the end user, our SecurBook (TM) labels can provide a complete (100%) supply channel authentication. Identical forensic markers on (pedigree papers, bulk containers, individual units) can be scanned and read to ensure 100% accuracy. This will verify that the brand has not been counterfeited. Patented, portable-scanning units can verify and authenticate in the field.

How Does This Work? ATL Pharma utilizes the unique technology of IDGLOBAL. This consists of custom forensic markers with digital data for tracking. Specific ATL SecurBook labels contain an invisible and non-degradable forensic marker. When applied (or linked) to pedigree documentation, packaging, and containers, the supply channel becomes “secure”, because all “digital data” scans must match as identical. If they match, brand authentication and anti-counterfeiting are ensured. This is why we call ATL brands the “Secur” product line.

Invisible (Non-degradable) Forensic Marker Is Your Assurance Of Brand Authenticity

Invisible (Non-degradable) Forensic Marker Is Your Assurance Of Brand Authenticity

ATL can provide custom solutions tailored to your specific supply channel.
Other ATL Pharma brands include:
SecurLock: Tamper-Evident breakaway closure;
SecurDetek: Invisible, Hidden Page Marker;
SecurMark: Anti-Counterfeiting holograms;
SecurStretch: Tamper-Evident Unit Closure;
SecurPly: Booklets for soft squeeze tubes;
PharmaVoid: Security Closure/ Destructible Tapes;
Triple-Ply: Three-Tier overt and / or covert levels of anti-counterfeiting;
D2 WAO: Wrap-Around style (up to 19 panels) that fit most cylinders-
(U.S. Patent Applied For).

Brand protection (safeguarding the public) doesn’t cost much more than the labels and packaging in use today. If you are a brand owner, why not do the right things. Provide your customers with layered anti-counterfeiting overt and covert protection.

Remember always: “It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.” Helen Keller

Ringo-John-George-Paul. Counterfeit Beatles Albums.

October 16th, 2008

Above: Two Beatles albums from the “Capitol” days. Did you know there were thousands of counterfeit Beatles albums before Capitol (B.C.)?

I came across an absolutely fascinating article written by Frank Daniels in 2002. It was all about “The Beatles” early albums B.C. (Before Capitol). As I read this I wondered: “If counterfeiters will go through these extreme measures to flood the market with fake records, then I had better be very careful when buying medicines or safety related items.” Here are parts of Mr. Daniels writings:
Fakes and Fantasies
A counterfeit or fake record is one that attempts to pass itself off as a genuine record that was actually issued by a legitimate record company at one time. Sometimes, counterfeits do not look exactly like the genuine copies that they mimic but are slightly different. A fantasy record or sleeve is one that pretends to be a rare and otherwise unknown item. However, no legitimate record company ever pressed or printed an item like that one.

A pirate copy of a record is a counterfeit that is made while the legitimate record is still selling. These lower quality “knock-offs” are intended to dupe people into buying them at a lower price than the genuine record album would cost. While Vee Jay and Swan (Record Companies) were still producing Beatles records, there was certainly no need for anyone to make “pirate,” “counterfeit,” or “fantasy” records on those labels. However, during the late 1960′s demand arose for Beatles records on those two labels. Counterfeiters filled that void, making counterfeit copies of “Introducing the Beatles” and of the Swan “She Loves You” single. The 1970′s and ’80′s saw even more counterfeits being circulated. Since there were no legitimate copies selling, these counterfeits are — strictly speaking — NOT “pirate” copies, even though they were not being sold as “collectors’ items.”

“She Loves You”/”I’ll Get You” – (Counterfeit) Swan 4152: white label with red print or black label with silver print.

It has been believed for some time that “thin print” copies with quotation marks were reissues available in 1966 and 1967 (just before Swan Records folded in 1967). These rumors are false, for Swan had a contract to release the single for two years and stopped pressing “She Loves You” in 1965. There are two common issues of these fakes: (1) The matrix numbers are stamped into the trail-off by machine. Unlike the genuine Swan issues, the matrix numbers are only 1/16″ high, and neither the “Reco-Art” nor “Virtue Studio” company information appears in the matrix. (2) The matrix numbers are etched by hand, otherwise as above.

The “stamped matrix” fakes have been promoted as reissues. Even though these fakes are almost as common as the ‘black label’ issues and are not genuine, public opinion for years that they were genuine has caused them to sell for $40 to $50 each. The “etched matrix” fakes have been recognized as counterfeits and usually sell for under $10.
Some counterfeit/fantasy copies of the white and red label “She Loves You” were pressed in red vinyl. These tend to sell for about $20, twice as much as the more common black vinyl counterfeits.

“Please Please Me” – “Ask Me Why” – (Fantasy) Vee Jay 498 sleeves: Since the Beatles were complete unknowns in the USA in early 1963, Vee Jay Records never issued a picture sleeve for their first release. Bootleggers have filled the void by producing fantasy sleeves. Each of the above sleeves first appeared after 1980. The first sleeve, shown above, features an early photo of the group. Like the actual single, the sleeve misspells “Beatles,” using two T’s. There are promotional markings on the reverse side, as though the sleeve had accompanied original white/gray label promo copies. In reality, the sleeve came about 20 years too late.

The second sleeve sports four drawings of the Beatles that Vee Jay actually did produce. These are the drawings that appear inside “Songs, Pictures, and Stories”. On this fantasy sleeve, the brackets logo was used, even though Vee Jay hadn’t come up with it in early 1963. The group’s name is also spelled correctly.

“From Me to You” – “Thank You Girl” – (Fantasy) Vee Jay 522 sleeves. As with the above single, there were no original picture sleeves accompanying the Beatles’ second single for Vee Jay. Bootleggers have produced at least two fantasy sleeves for the record. Again, both sleeves are of recent origin. The first sleeve is a pale imitation of the genuine sleeve to Vee Jay 581, with the photograph flipped around. The second sleeve uses the photo from the 1982 re-release of “Love Me Do.” This second-generation picture is blurry.

“Please Please Me” – “From Me to You” -(Counterfeit) Vee Jay 581 sleeves. The first of these sleeves is actually a counterfeit/fantasy item, not intended to fool someone but to simply occupy the missing place of a rare item in someone’s collection. The sleeve is clearly unlike the genuine sleeve, for the group’s name appears here in green (above photo, top) and in red on the original sleeve. The sleeve on the bottom is a different matter! Look at the top (opening) of the sleeve. Genuine copies of the VJ 581 sleeve have the slick cut so that the corners at the top are slightly rounded; copies that have the corners cut square are counterfeits.

Clearly Counterfeit Covers
Let’s first look at some fakes that are clearly identifiable just from the cover:

The cover is ugly and yellowed. The photograph is clearly a second-generation copy. The word “STEREO” is printed on the front cover (since the counterfeiters did not actually own a stereo cover). These fakes date to the late 1960′s.

Below: Here’s another “easy loser.” There are no genuine copies of the LP with a brown border around the album. Most likely, these were semi-fantasy items that were never intended to pass themselves off as genuine. Since they first appeared in the mid-to-late 1970′s, some people have forgotten that they are fakes.

Clearly Counterfeit Labels
The vast majority of counterfeit copies of “Introducing the Beatles” cannot be easily identified by their covers alone. Chances are, though, if it claims to be in stereo and claims to have “Love Me Do” in the titles on the back, it’s a phony. The best test to determine whether your item is genuine is to look at the symbols that are stamped into the matrix of the record. Since this can be difficult — even confusing for some — we’ll take the next best route: to look at the labels.

Above: This is an all black label with large brackets. These were first introduced in the late 1970′s, along with fakes of “Songs, Pictures, and Stories” and “Hear the Beatles Tell All”. The label is of higher quality than some of the “rainbow label” fakes, but since the artist name and title are separated by the spindle hole, it’s a clear fake. Also, during the 1960′s, Vee Jay never released a “large brackets” version of an “all black label.” Finally, these usually come in covers claiming that the record is in stereo; the label does not say “STEREO” — another sign of a counterfeit. Some “all black” counterfeit labels from the same period list “Ask Me Why” and “Please Please Me” — since the counterfeiters did not own copies that had “Love Me Do” and “PS I Love You” on them.

Above: This style counterfeit label was very popular — some copies date back to the 60′s. Notice the thin print on the catalog number. Like the other fakes, the mono catalog number is shown on the label; the bootleggers did not have stereo copies to copy from. That’s why the songs are in mono, too. Here, we see again the telltale sign — that the word “STEREO” is absent, and the title and artist name are separated by the spindle hole. Either one of these is the sign of a fake.

Above: By the late 1970′s, some copies of the same style fake as the one above were being made sloppily. Notice that the label is not the right size. Part of the color band is missing around the label’s edge. Otherwise, it exhibits the same counterfeit characteristics as the label above.

Above: This counterfeit, from the early 1980′s, looks slightly better. The colors in the color band are more realistic. However, the word “STEREO” is still missing, and the cover this record came with claimed it was in stereo. It’s also got the title and artist’s name separated. Another fake.

Above: Here’s another fake, again slightly more professional looking. This one came out during the mid 1980′s. Once again, though, we have a brackets label copy without “STEREO” (and the cover promised us stereo). And even more clearly, the title and artist’s name are separated by the spindle hole in the middle. A disappointing effort.

Above: This counterfeit was color photocopied from a genuine MONO copy of the LP, so the title and artist’s name are in the right place. The colors are strange, but it would fool most people. It came in a “stereo” cover, though, so again something is wrong. Notice that the color green is missing from the label. The record also lists “Please Please Me” and “Ask Me Why,” since that’s the kind of genuine copy that was being photocopied. The label also has a large pressing ring, a kind not found on genuine 1964 releases.

Fast Forward To 2008

Many thanks go to Mr. Frank Daniels for his highly interesting work on different Beatles counterfeits. As he pointed in 2002, counterfeiters were running wild when a buck was to be made. Today, why would you risk buying prescription medicines and “genuine” OEM auto parts that cannot be authenticated as “the real goods”?

If you are a brand owner, it doesn’t cost much to secure packaging and provide consumers with labeling that has “layered” overt and covert anti-counterfeiting protection.

If you are a consumer, we encourage you to ask manufacturers what they are doing to protect you from purchasing counterfeited goods. After all, if there are “hundreds” of Beatles counterfeits, it is logical to assume that there are thousands of chances that you are purchasing “fake”, “illicit”, “diverted”, or “diluted” prescription medications. Fight back. Insist on brand protection.

It’s time to take bold leadership and protect the public. Mark Twain said it best: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great, and your ideas have merit.”