Identifying Counterfeit Goods Through Your Smartphone

As our life dramatically goes mobile, society is also craving for digital ways of identification of counterfeit products or documents.

Scientists from Birmingham have already started working on this issue.

A startup called RealTag has been created. It invented a mobile application which can differentiate between counterfeit goods and real ones. (BBC 2015)

Scientists have come up with a concept of a unique tag which manufacturers can attach to their products. The label should be impossible to copy. And a special app will be able to read it. Information about the tag will be referenced with a cloud-based database in order to confirm authenticity.

Founders came up with an idea of the project after becoming aware of the issue of counterfeit malaria treatments. Thousands of people die each year because of the use of fake drugs. (Security Document World 2015)

Commercial director of RealTag, David McGee said: “The first phase of the company was to deliver proof of concept. Phase two is now to prove that the product works, and works on a large scale and in an economically viable way.” (University of Birmingham 2015)

Counterfeiters try to adapt to anti counterfeiting solutions. As a result one brand from the sector of spirits spent £1.5 million on a counterfeiting solution which was copied within a month. RealTag claims that their branded app together with unique labels will be impossible to replicate.

Fighting with fake goods with the help of a device which each of us has in their picket is not a bad idea. Who would not want to avoid purchasing fake alcohol, clothing or drugs?

But how long will the app work without counterfeiters copying it?

To which extent will we trust the app?

And popularising such a tool for a crowd is another issue to be resolved.



BBC (2015), Label allows smartphones to identify counterfeit goods, Available at:

Security Document World (2015), Interview: David McGee on RealTag’s solution, Available at:

University of Birmingham (2015), The Smart Way to Authenticity, Available at:

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Hanna Hotsyk

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One thought on “Identifying Counterfeit Goods Through Your Smartphone

  1. nataliafigas nataliafigas says:

    The idea is great, especially for drugs. However, what it means that the label is impossible to copy? Everything man created is possible to copy.

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