In an increasingly digital world, the threat of counterfeit products is escalating. From luxury goods to prescription drugs, counterfeit items have permeated every sector of the global market. It’s estimated that the annual sales of counterfeit goods range from $1.7 trillion to $4.5 trillion, positioning counterfeiting as one of the largest economies globally.
The Counterfeit Problem
Counterfeit products are not a fleeting issue but constitute a significant global industry. The counterfeit trade, which was a $30 billion problem in the 1980s, now surpasses $600 billion. The surge of e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic has further facilitated the proliferation of counterfeit goods.
The Role of AI in Counterfeit Detection
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are proving to be potent tools in the battle against counterfeiting. Companies like Amazon are deploying AI to scan over 8 billion listings from sellers daily. This monumental task, impossible to perform manually, is made feasible through machine learning algorithms and data collection techniques. These technologies enable the screening of logos and trademarks, comparing them with the authentic ones provided by the brands, and flagging potential counterfeit products. This sophisticated approach protects both consumers and brands.
Case Study: Entrupy
Entrupy, a company established by Vidyuth Srinivasan, exemplifies how AI can be harnessed to combat counterfeiting. Entrupy has constructed a comprehensive database of images from both authentic and counterfeit luxury items. This database is used to compare photos of an in-store item with images in its repository, enabling consumers and retailers to identify fakes on-demand using a handheld device. Entrupy, specializing in the luxury accessory and sneaker markets, conducts brand checking for major platforms like TikTok Shop and Goodwill Industries. This innovative method allows for real-time product authentication, providing an additional layer of security in the retail industry.
The Future of Counterfeit Detection
The future of counterfeit detection appears promising with the advent of new technologies. One such innovation involves the development of an invisible cryptographic signature that can be added to packaging. This signature, combined with AI, facilitates an authentication process that can be performed through any smartphone. This technology marks a significant advancement in the fight against counterfeiting. It not only makes the authentication process more accessible but also adds a layer of security that is challenging for counterfeiters to replicate.