Wine & Spirits Industry Fight Chinese Counterfeiting

By Gene Quinn
January 29, 2011

Portland-based BrandWatch Technologies and France-based, Prooftag, recently announced a partnership to create a sophisticated set of protection and marketing tools for the wine and spirits industry.  The goal is to help domestic wineries and distilleries overcome the problems of counterfeit product and authentication in overseas markets. It seems that the Chinese market is recognized by the wine and spirits industry as both a huge market for potential growth and a hotbed for counterfeiting problems.

It is unfortunate for businesses, but China is becoming practically synonymous with intellectual property theft, piracy and counterfeiting. On top of that, many technology companies are learning that doing licensing deals with the Chinese means they turn over the technologies and as soon as the Chinese corporation is capable of employing the technology the sever the relationship and then compete against American companies with American technology, they just don’t have to recoup the research and development costs and they have a cheap labor force.

To combat counterfeiting in the wine and spirit industry, BrandWatch Technologies is now offering Prooftag’s Bubble Seal™ technology as an integrated component to its multi-layered protection solution. The Bubble Seal™ has been especially developed by Prooftag to solve problems associated with counterfeiting and parallel markets for products and counterfeiting and forgery of documents. In combination with Bubble Seal™ technology BrandWatch can offer innovative new brand protection solution that include overt security features (such as microtext, packaging design features), covert security features (such as holograms, OVDs, intaglio ink, copy prevention), coding (such as encrypted bar codes, human readable codes, RFID), and forensic technologies (such as DNA, elements, nano-particles).

Essentially, defeating counterfeiters has gone high-tech. Such high-tech solutions are required given the amount of money that is involved in counterfeiting and how organized crime and terrorist affiliates are seeking to turn to intellectual property crimes to fund operations because the profits are exceptionally high and if caught jail time is minimal compared with drug related crimes, for example.

The partnership between BrandWatch Technologies and Prooftag also provides brand owners with an iPhone app that enables distributors and consumers to verify the product they are holding is authentic. The iProof app uses the phone’s camera to take a picture of the Bubble Seal™, which then cross-references an online database of products to confirm authenticity. Instant offline authenticity can be achieved with the BrandWatch Reveal detector.  The mobile app also opens marketing possibilities for manufacturers, as customers can use their phone to sign up for promotional deals, receive news or special offers.

“Our partnership with Prooftag enables North American wineries and distilleries to more confidently sell into new markets,” said Steve Delepine, vice president of business development at BrandWatch Technologies. “The technology we are providing with our partner, Prooftag, can be deployed as efficiently on a $10 bottle of red table wine, as on a $10,000 bottle of French Bordeaux.”

“BrandWatch Technologies’ reach in North America and multi-layer protection solutions, takes our Bubble Tag™ product and creates a unique fraud protection system,” said Franck Bourrières, co-founder of Prooftag.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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