Aqua.ID, a new approach to product protection

by Jeremy Plimmer

Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011


With an established reputation for asset protection, SmartWater is about to launch a brand protection facility that offers a paradigm shift in forensic authentication for brand owners who require unambiguous proof within the supply chain that their merchandise has been counterfeited.

The product, Aqua.ID is a forensic marker that can be altered almost infinitely to provide a unique reference that can be used on any product and by any brand owner in order to identify product abuses such as diversion, counterfeiting, parallel trading and refilling fraud - in conjunction with a suitably marked sealing method. In effect it uses a form of fingerprinting generated through the use of various stimuli on securely sourced materials in differing volumes to create the unique ‘fingerprint’

Aqua.ID can be combined with a printing ink used in labelling and packaging or it can be applied directly on to a product. It is also possible to mix directly applied forensic markers on products with similar marking substances on packaging, thus identifying the refilling of authentic packs with counterfeit product.

The forensic tag being used by SmartWater in its Aqua.ID system is authenticated by a portable reader that is able to ‘sniff’ a chemical signature and identify it upon contact. The hand held recognition unit contains a small liquid crystal video screen similar to those used in cell-phones and a trigger to activate the unit.

The video output is used to direct messages to the user regarding the authentication status of the product being scanned. Messages can provide immediate feedback on whether the product is counterfeit or genuine but more importantly, an indication of batch code, manufacture date, country of origin or destination market can provide intelligence that indicates diversion from a previously scheduled route within the supply chain.

You can read the complete article on Aqua.ID in the January/February issue of Product & Image Security Newsletter

About Jeremy Plimmer

Jeremy Plimmer has 35 years of experience in the security related print and packaging industry working originally as sales development director for manufacturers of passports, high security print and labels and more recently as a consultant. He is a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Minerals, Materials and Mining, chairman of the West Midlands Packaging Society as well as vice chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society.

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About the foundation

The Product & Image Security Foundation is a non-profit making trade association which was originally formed under the name of Label & Tag Security International (LTSI) in the early 1990's.

Today it operates with more than 100 members in 27 countries and is the premier international forum for manufacturers, suppliers and users of labels, tags, packaging, identification systems, materials and systems for any form of product security, brand image protection or product traceability applications and technology.