BPA Reports Growing Counterfeiting Concerns
By Marie Redding, Senior Editor
The Brand Protection Alliance (BPA) has reported an increase in requests for guidance from beauty companies looking to ward off counterfeiting. As a result, the organization has stepped up its efforts to educate these marketers about the anticounterfeit products and technologies that can be incorporated in packaging.
Founded two years ago, The Brand Protection Alliance serves as a resource to help implement brand-protection strategies. “Our member companies are suppliers that can bring technology and products to the forefront. We work with clients to develop highly customized secure solutions in the area of counterfeiting,” says Lynn Crutchfield, president of The Brand Protection Alliance and president of Acucote, one of the founding members of The Brand Protection Alliance.
The Brand Protection Alliance says that sorting through all of the different products available and combining them to create an effective anticounterfeit solution is not an easy task. It often requires a number of different suppliers to deliver a customized, complex solution that will provide the most protection for a particular product.
Fortunately, the Alliance has a wealth of resources to draw from. “There isn’t one company that could be the end-all solution, but we have the ability to provide solutions that sometimes involve 10 different suppliers,” says Crutchfield.
When several different technologies are used on a package, the package is more secure, says Crutchfield. “A layered solution is much more difficult for counterfeiters to defeat,” he explains.
Crutchfield says that an example of creating a “layered solution” on a package would be to combine a pressure-sensitive material made by Acucote, security inks by Water Ink Technologies, and a hologram by Kurtz Transfer Products. Track-and-trace technologies, supported by a company such as YottaMark, can also be used on the label itself.
A shipping carton’s label can contain security features, such as bar code technology by IIMAK. “All of this would provide retailers with the ability to verify the cartons and what is inside,” Crutchfield says.
Solutions can also include hidden features that are now being incorporated in the print areas of packages. “These features allow for authentification by special reading equipment,” says Crutchfield. He explains three ways in which this type of technology could be used: by retailers, to verify that a product shipment is from a legitimate manufacturer; by manufacturers, to spot-check various retail outlets to make sure that only legitimate products are on shelves; and in the event of a theft, this type of technology could be used to locate products in flea markets or other unauthorized retail outlets.
“Two years ago, we didn’t have this level of consumer awareness about the dangers of counterfeits. Now, a push from consumers is fueling the interest of many companies,” says Crutchfield. “Everyone wants to know what’s available, and many are now considering implementing some form of protection.” Most beauty companies Crutchfield has recently worked with are in the stages of assessing their needs, he says.
Lawyer Advises Brands to Protect Trademarks
By Marie Redding, Senior Editor
Rick Van Arnam, Esq., a specialist in global trade law for New York City firm Barnes Richardson & Colburn, recently shared legal advice on how marketers can protect their brand identity. He offered six basic rules.
- Brands should register all of their trademarks and patents in all of the countries in which their business is done. Trademark laws are territorial, so filing trademarks and patents in the United States or the European Union, for instance, won’t provide protection in other parts of the world. “You can help prevent trademark pirates from beating you to the trademark office in a country you recently decided that you want to start doing business in by anticipating which markets you might enter in the future and registering your marks in all of those countries,” said Arnam.
- Register trademarks and trade names with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). “I continue to see many companies fail to take this easy and inexpensive step that can lead to government interdiction at the border. If counterfeit merchandise is seized, CBP will advise you of the names and addresses of the exporter and importer, allowing you the possibility of taking additional steps directly against the offending party,” explained Arnam.
- Brands should ensure that the suppliers that make their products are not producing additional units of product on the side. “It’s always best to only do business with suppliers you trust. As extra insurance, most companies will either have an in-house team or hire third-party agents to oversee quality control during production—especially if manufacturing is done overseas. This team can also do background checks to verify the reputation of your suppliers,” said Arnam.
- Companies should be aggressive and use the law to fight infringements. “Many remedies exist, both in civil and criminal law, and at both the federal and court levels. No violation is too small to warrant, at a minimum, a cease-and-desist letter,” advised Arnam.
- Identify Web sites—especially auction sites—that sell counterfeit merchandise. “Become familiar with the auction house policies that allow legitimate rights holders to identify themselves and to have the auction house remove offending auctions,” explained Arnam. For example, he said, on eBay, this is called the Verified Rights Owner Program. On Sell.com, it is called the Rights Owner Compliance Systems.
- Lastly, brands should ensure that their employees are educated on these issues. “It’s important to make sure that everyone in a company understands the importance of protecting these valuable rights,” Arnam said.
Baby Fragrance Wins Big at Ex-Tracts Awards
By Marie Redding, Senior Editor
The best packaging winner at the Ex-Tracts trade show in August was a collection of scents for babies called Love, Chic Baby. Manufactured and marketed by Chic Baby, a new company founded by Corey Gelman and Masahiro Ouchi, the line’s packaging is designed to keep young children amused.
Mixed in with the fragrances are blue or pink hearts that collect at the bottom of each oval-shaped glass bottle. These hearts float to the surface when the bottle is shaken. When an outer sleeve on the carton is removed, customers can read a story that is printed on a secondary sleeve, which opens to reveal an illustration of a house.
The Ex-Tracts show was held August 13–16 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. A complete list of Ex-Tracts’ best new product winners can be found at www.extractsny.com in the Media section. The next Ex-Tracts will take place February 3–6, 2008.
World Wide Packaging Wins Four Tube Awards
Multifunctional features and advanced technology allowed tubes to shine in The Tube Council’s 2007 Tube of the Year Awards. Supplier World Wide Packaging (Florham Park, NJ) was this year’s top winner, taking home four awards.
The awards’ highest honor, the Ted Klein Tube of the Year award, went to World Wide for a tube it created for Avon Anew Clinical Spider Vein Therapy. The tube has a cap that took 14 processes to complete. This tube was also awarded Innovative Tube of the Year.
Tube of the Year awards were also given to plastic, laminate, and metal tubes:
- Plastic Tube: World Wide Packaging for Sally Hansen’s Gentle Peel for Rough Lips tube with full-wrap hot stamping.
- Laminate Tube: Alcan Packaging Beauty (New York City) for Chattem’s Icy Hot Pain Relieving Gel tube with a built-in sponge applicator. (For more on this tube, read the feature story on tubes in CPC Packaging’s September 2007 issue.)
- Metal Tube: Montebello Packaging (Oak Park, IL) for a Vernico Products tube with advanced decoration.
World Wide Packaging won another award for the best personal care tube for Time Wise by Mary Kay Cosmetics. The tube required seven molded parts, and a silicone tip required hand assembly. Alcan Packaging Beauty also won another award for a food tube of the year.