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An Example Brand Protection Application of EPCs-Cucci Handbag
Jun 01, 2018

An Example Brand Protection Application of EPCs-Cucci Handbag


An Example Brand Protection Application of EPCs-Cucci handbag


Now, we can assume that a few years from now all items will have EPCs on them and anyone will be able to read those EPCs. If I see a Gucci handbag on sale in a shop,I will be able to point my Bluetooth EPC-reading pen at it and read the EPC. My mobile phone can then tell me that the handbag is Gucci product 666, serial number 888. This information is,by itself, of little use to me. I could go onto the Gucci-lovers web site and find out that product 666 is a particular kind of handbag, but nothing more: yet I need to know more to make a decision about whether to buy the bag or not. I may know that the tag is “valid”, but that doesn’t tell much about the bag. For that, I need more data.


The EPC network architecture defines the infrastructure for finding that data. Organisations that read EPCs (eg, a retail chain) will have networks of servers that collect the tag data and turn it into meangingful information2. These servers (called “savants”) can then use this information to query corporate databases: these databases can then query other databases. There’s an XML schema, known as “physical markup language” (PML) that they can use to talk to each other.If I wanted to know if the handbag is real or fake, then I need to have access to its provenance (known by that savant network) as well as its product details. The provenance may be distributed quite widely across the network. The retailer’s database knows which distributor the bag came from, the distributor’s database knows which factory the bag came from and Gucci’s  database should know all of this. I need access to this data to get the data I need to decide whether the bad is real or fake.


All well and good, but why would the retailer, the distributor or Gucci tell me? How do they know whether I am a retailer, one of their best customers, one of their own “brand police”, a counterfeiter (who would love to know which tags are in which shops and so on) or a law enforcement officer with a warrant?


The technology to solve that problem already exists: smart cards and digital signatures. A Gucci brand policeman might have a Bluetooth pen tag reader connected to a PDA with a smart card and a GPRS connection. They could then point the pen at a bag and fire off a query: the query would have a digital signature attached (from the smart card) and the Gucci savant could check that signature before processing the query. Gucci could then send a digitally-signed and encrypted query to the distributor’s savant which would then send back a digitally-signed and

encrypted response to be passed back to the brand policeman: “no we’ve never heard of this bag” or “we shipped this bag to retailer X on this date” or “we’ve just been queried on this bag in Australia” or something similar.


The central security issue for brand protection is therefore the protection of (and access to) the provenance data. It is this area that demands industry attention. The foundation of the “privacy settlement” between government, business and the public must be open: every stakeholder must understand how, why and when savants will be allowed to answer queries and under what circumstances they will send a result (and who they will tell they sent the result to, for later auditing).


Check Innov’s brand protect solution here:

http://www.rfidtagfactory.com/retail-brand-protection/nfc-tag/product-brand-label.html





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