Impostors Beware: New Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Derails Theft


(DGIwire) — Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. It is one of the fastest-growing crimes, threatening jobs and even endangering public health. In recent years, the Department of Homeland Security has seized over $1 billion in counterfeit goods at U.S. borders. Counterfeiting can also be a huge safety issue. Not too long ago, even luxury British sports car company Aston Martin recalled almost 18,000 cars built in the past seven years after discovering that a subcontractor had used synthetic plastic material in the manufacturing process. Counterfeiting of any kind is illegal and can cause major financial losses, but counterfeiting car parts adds an extra layer of danger—the counterfeit parts were used to make the cars’ accelerator pedals. After several different reported cases of Aston Martin accelerators breaking, the company very responsibly investigated further and found that it was no coincidence. There was a supply chain issue.

Supply chain challenges are serious issues and they impact all types of industry including automotive, electronics and even fashion, for example. The issue is serious on many levels. At the most basic, which isn’t “basic” at all—poor supply chain controls can impact corporate and brand reputations if quality is undermined.   Taking it to the extreme, if supply chain problems result in deaths which have been reported by numerous industries due to some part or ingredient getting altered at some point during the manufacturing process—the ramifications are devastating on many levels.

There are a variety of companies committed to producing and delivering anti-counterfeiting solutions. Applied DNA Sciences, based in Stony Brook, NY is one that offers a unique solution designed to help manufacturers with supply chain protection, brand authentication and evidentiary solutions for law enforcement agencies. The company’s SigNature® DNA product consists of full double-stranded plant DNA that allows for impenetrable ink marks, high-resolution DNA authentication and comprehensive reporting. Applied DNA’s botanical DNA-based technologies deliver the highest levels of counterfeit detection for any company.

Said James A. Hayward, PhD, President and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences. “Counterfeiting along the supply chain is serious and possibly deadly business. If we can protect human lives by ensuring only authentic parts go into automobiles or other manufactured items, we’ve provided a great service.”

Applied DNA’s technology has been tested under the harshest possible conditions, including UV radiation, extreme heat and cold and potent industrial baths. Through it all, the SigNature DNA mark endures. SigNature DNA is compatible with a wide variety of materials, and can be safely applied to fabrics, plastics, metals, narcotics and product packaging. The company also developed a cash-in-transit method where cases of cash are rigged with ink markers, set to mark anyone who tries to tamper with it. The DNA mark clings to human skin, and is detectable after two weeks of showers and baths. This gives the police ample time to track down and link perpetrators to the crime.

Only a tiny amount of DNA is necessary to mark items since, in its natural form, DNA is the most dense information carrier on earth—DNA’s encoding capacity is roughly equal to the memory power of 100 billion DVDs per gram. Unlike a computer or external hard drive, SigNature DNA is designed to last for thousands of years. Additionally, its mark can withstand at least 10 different authentications in its lifetime, meaning there is no need to re-mark an item once it’s already been done.