The impact of counterfeiting is significant, both in terms of lost revenue for businesses and fraud to the consumer, which can even endanger citizens in the case of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. It is clearly a global problem that affects numerous industries, and the problem is growing.

Digital watermarking, when used as part of a linked and layered security approach, can provide a strong and effective deterrence to counterfeiting and help to solve this costly and challenging problem. Implementation of the technology is relatively simple, with minimal impact to most workflows.


Digital watermarks are imperceptible digital codes that are easily embedded into all forms of media content, including product packaging and even certain objects. The watermark can uniquely identify each specific item or instance of content and carry information on the lot number, routing of shipments and intended destinations. Watermarks can be encrypted and secured so that only authorized reading devices can detect and access the data. Altering a watermark is virtually impossible, and the mere lack of presence of a digital watermark can immediately indicate tampering and likely counterfeiting.

The data carried in the digital watermark can quickly be cross correlated with other security features that may be used-a magnetic stripe or barcode, for instance. It is a covert security feature that does not take up additional space on printed materials or packaging, and is easily detected by special software on a range of readily available devices.


Your government-issued ID is likely the document you use most often to establish your identity. In the United States, it is the driver license. In other countries, it may be a National ID card. Whichever type of ID it is, we use these cards to access to a wide range of services and privileges, including travel, driving, entering secure facilities, credit, banking and various commercial transactions. The value of government-issued IDs is growing and investing in securing them just makes good sense.

Today, digital watermarks are used in the majority of U.S. driver licenses, and in government-issued IDs around the world, to quickly authenticate the ID and combat identity theft and fraud. Counterfeit or altered IDs can be easily detected through the use of scanning devices that look for the presence (or absence) of a digital watermark that cross correlates with other data on the card. Digital watermarking enables inspectors to reliably authenticate IDs while protecting the privacy of citizen data.

Effective authentication of content, IDs and objects helps companies…

  • Reliably authenticate documents, objects and personal IDs at points of inspection
  • Ensure that shipments travel their intended route and arrive at the proper destination
  • Immediately identify possible tampering or counterfeiting when the watermark is absent

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Member companies who offer, “Content & Object Authentication,” solutions: