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News

Holograms could provide anti-counterfeiting protection for world cup merchandise

International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) : 14 May, 2014  (Technical Article)
Suppliers of merchandise associated with the 2014 FIFA World Cup are being advised to protect against fakes through the use of holograms
Holograms could provide anti-counterfeiting protection for world cup merchandise

2014 FIFA World Cup suppliers are being urged to review their anti-counterfeiting plans by the International Hologram Manufacturers Association over reports of fake souvenirs.

The message comes as customs officers thwarted the counterfeiters after seizing boxes crammed full of fake trophies at a warehouse in China. The statuettes were found in the city of Yiwu, Zhejiang province, which has one of the busiest export trades in the world.

The fakes, which at a cursory glance bore a remarkable resemblance to the real thing, were due to be exported to Libya, from where they would presumably have been shipped on to other football-mad markets.

Despite efforts to clampdown on counterfeit goods coming mainly from China and other Asian countries, fake national team shirts and other popular merchandise will be costing bonafide suppliers millions of dollars in lost revenue this summer, says the IHMA.

And despite prosecutions illegal traders will not be deterred when they can make huge profits for fake goods that cost only a few cents to produce in illegal factories and illicit back street workshops.

IHMA general secretary Ian Lancaster said that many top sports brands could be in for a tough summer with millions of counterfeit products or cheap imitations flooding the market.

He added: “Football fans need be careful what they are buying and need to check the quality of garments and details like logos before handing over cash.”

Counterfeit merchandise hits hard the international market for sales of sports merchandise as well as the leading brands, which not only have market share to protect but also global reputations for quality and excellence.

Ian Lancaster welcomed the inclusion of holograms on official licensed merchandise such as footballs and art prints but believes many suppliers will be “nervous” in the countdown to world cup kick-off on 14 June.

“The problem of fake goods at this summer’s World Cup will be a massive concern,” he said. “We are urging all those involved in the fight against counterfeiting, from FIFA, anti piracy and law enforcement agencies to official suppliers and distributors to review their plans.”

He points to the increasing adoption of holography on sports merchandise as reinforcing the technology’s position as a pre-eminent security feature in the global anti-counterfeiting fight.

“Holography has a key role as a highly effective, highly flexible weapon in the ongoing battle to thwart counterfeiters and fraudsters,” Ian Lancaster said.

“All involved in the supply chain will be reassured by the presence of holograms on products and recognise the benefits they provide.”

The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated in ISO’s 12931 standard, on authentication solutions, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from the counterfeits coming out of China. Even those that carry a “fake” authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.

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