Prepress & Workflow

Heidelberg Offers Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Protection for Brand Owners

Posted: April 15, 2014

The 1-TAG technology from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) offers brand owners against product piracy, providing a solution for minimizing the resultant economic damage. For all end customers, this solution also offers a simple way of checking the authenticity of products using a smartphone.
For reliable protection against counterfeiting, the products are equipped with 1-TAG security labels. These comprise a pattern randomly generated from copper threads and an accompanying unique two-dimensional quick response code (QR code). The combination of these two elements on the product itself or on the packaging ensures the best possible protection against counterfeiting and creates a unique identity for each product, comparable to a human fingerprint. A free mobile software app specifically developed for this technology allows end users to check the authenticity of the labeled products quickly and easily using a smartphone.
The check takes place directly on the user's phone without the need for a network connection. Consumers can download the relevant apps free of charge from the Apple Store and the Google Android Market. The solution is available now for manufacturers and offers a far higher level of security than popular hologram concepts, which can usually be copied by counterfeiters in just a few days.
1-TAG is based on a combination of physical random processes and cryptographic signatures. The term cryptographic signature refers to processes that can be used to document the authenticity of data and enable this data to be checked by everyone. First, a pattern randomly generated from copper threads is applied to a label. This pattern is read off using a camera, and a cryptographic key that is unique to each manufacturer converts it into an equally unique code. This cryptographic signature ensures that the random pattern, code, and product information are linked up in such a way that they offer reliable protection against manipulation. The code is printed on the label next to the pattern of copper threads using a digital drop-on-demand inkjet system from Linoprint. “We designed 1-TAG primarily as a security system for brand goods manufacturers and their end customers to provide better protection against counterfeit products,” says Stephan Plenz, member of the Heidelberg management board responsible for equipment. “For the first time, this technology allows brand goods manufacturers to incorporate their customers into the process of counterfeit protection. Thanks to its high level of security and simple user handling, 1-TAG offers extremely effective protection, particularly for health- or security-critical products.” For more, visit