BY APARNA JAIN, HARINDER NARVAN AND AASHRIKA AHUJA, KNOWLEDGENTIA CONSULTANTS
Counterfeiting is a global phenomenon having a magnanimous impact on every sector of the economy. India is no exception either. Significant economic, health and safety concerns are experienced all across the length and breadth of the country as a result of widespread counterfeiting. The market of counterfeit goods is worth approximately a whopping $ 1 trillion. The maximum devastation has been felt across the pharmaceutical sector where combating fake medicines require increased collaboration at national, regional and international levels. Advent of covid-19 pandemic has made this situation even worse on account of shortage of even the basic demand. Confiscation of fake sanitizers, handrubs and N-95 masks from every nook and corner of the country raises significant concerns regarding the efficacy of demand and supply chain running across the length and breadth of country. Counterfeiting of antiseptics, vitamin supplements, anticold preparations, antacids and painkillers demand that an effective technology be put in place to counteract this trend and even more importantly for the sake of well-being of large consumer base.
Strengthening of IPR regime has been explored as the most viable option since centuries in counteracting this menace and now MIT Sloan alumnus Padmakumar Nair along with his team has developed a process based on artificial intelligence and cryptography to spot fake products within seconds. What triggered this invention was a glaring fact how fake medicines alone are responsible for causing million deaths every year. The patented technology uses cryptography and artificial intelligence through which any information can be encrypted on surfaces including plastic, aluminium foil and cardboard. This encrypted information can be retrieved using any smart phone to test the authenticity of the product. There is a technology to build an invisible encryption within hours which features on product labels. To scan the encrypted design, the company has designed an app called Vyu. Once a product is scanned and found to be fake, the company that manufactures it is alerted and informed of the location of the item. A unique feature of this software is that it is a cloud-based solution because of which clients do not have to bear the cost of machinery that is otherwise needed to create barcodes and holograms. This could also add to profitability of company.
This invention substantiates that innovation and effective IPR protection has the capacity to not just protect the people but also offer simple solutions to complicated phenomenon like counterfeiting that have become a global menace.