For the third consecutive year, Apple tops the list of most innovative companies.
Fraud Fighters: High Tech Solutions Dog Copycats
Manufacturers and designers, long plagued by counterfeiters, are using cutting-edge security to thwart these copycats that cost them billions every year.
One tech company, Applied DNA Sciences, is putting its unique stamp on expensive name-brand and designer products so retailers and consumers know it's the real deal. The process uses botanical DNA to mark and identify products. Similar to human DNA, plant DNA is specific to each individual plant and therefore cannot be copied.
Last year, American guitar maker C.F. Martin & Co. announced that it was partnering with Applied DNA Sciences to use their patented SigNature DNA to help combat unauthorized replication of Martin products.
Another company, Tesa Scribos, has developed their own security solution called Tesa Hologram that uses computer-generated, laser-inscribed hologram labels. The labels contain unique information and act as a fingerprint for each product they're adhered to.
Companies like Applied DNA and Tesa Scribos are capitalizing on the need for product protection. According to CNN Money, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 25,000 shipments of counterfeit goods last year valued at over $175 million. Counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses $200 to $250 billion annually, according to the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition.
Private investigator Michael Kessler of New York's Kessler International, hired by several major manufacturers to track down knockoff artists across the globe, said advances in technology have helped to combat counterfeiting, but such measures have to also make economic sense.
"It works for a fragrance that might wholesale for $50 a bottle," Kessler said. "But when there are less expensive products that are counterfeited, the technology might cost more than it's worth."
The battle against knock-offs might be perpetual, but with continually advanced weapons, companies are trying to stay a step ahead of the product pirates.