Brand protection is the use of packaging, packaging components or other technologies to protect products from criminal activities such as diversion, grey markets and counterfeiting.
Things were set in motion in 1980 when the world of packaging changed with the Tylenol poisonings through product tampering. It was realized that protecting products using tamper-evident materials served to protect consumers as well as a brand’s equity.
In the decades since, the sophistication of brand protection has kept pace to match the sophistication of criminal types. Today, methods for brand protection include serialization, radio-frequency identification (RFID) or similar technologies, overt methods like optically variable devices (holograms) and covert methods like taggants, special UV inks and genetic markers. One example is the use of authentication applied to flexible films.
Tying into the universality of smartphones, there’s not surprisingly an app available for brand protection, too: Packaging Digest reported on a Mobile Product Authentication (MPA) technology that allows consumers to verify a product's authentication at the time of purchase or use, using unique identifiers or codes on each package.
For a superb, timeless overview of brand protection technology, see New technology aids fight against counterfeiters [http://www.packagingdigest.com/article/518765-New_technology_aids_fight_against_counterfeiters.php].
Brand protection also relates to recalls where technology for track-and-trace capability streamlines the rapid identification and location of the suspect batch or lot. A report from Allied Market Research pegs the CAGR of the global food traceability market at 8.7 percent, with revenues reaching $14.1 billion by 2020.