Fashionista has an interesting article about how some brands are fighting counterfeiters. Along with scrutinizing the market and working with government organizations to conduct raids, some companies are embedding microchips into their products so that consumers can better tell what’s real and what’s fake:
Last week, Moncler announced that beginning with its spring/summer 2016 collection, all of its products will contain small radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, each containing a unique ID that will allow users to scan and authenticate their goods via their smartphones or through the code.moncler.com website. Employing the same technology that allows Apple Pay users to swipe their phones at cash registers in lieu of pulling out their credit cards, it will make it far easier for customers to identify if the $1,200, Moncler-branded down coat they’ve just bought is a fake — no online guide necessary. (Counterfeits are so rampant, in fact, that Moncler has a whole team in its customer service department dedicated to supporting clients who have purchased them.)
Moncler isn’t the only Italian-based luxury brand to use microchips in the battle against counterfeiting. Beginning with its pre-fall 2014 collection, Salvatore Ferragamo began embedding RFID chips into the left soles of its women’s shoes to allow the company to verify their authenticity. It has since added the tags to products in other categories, including women’s bags and luggage and men’s shoes and small leather goods.
As with any new technology — particularly of the tracking variety — privacy concerns abound. Gerry Weber deactivates its chips at point-of-sale, but for Moncler and Ferragamo, that would defeat the purpose. In Europe, where data privacy laws are more strict, “you have to tell the client if you’re providing such a product with an RFID chip and serial number,” says Owen. Indeed, Burberry discloses its uses of RFID on its website. There are some U.S. state laws prohibiting, for example, the surreptitious scanning of RFID chips in ID cards, but nothing requiring that a retailer disclose chips are embedded in the products they sell.