using digital certificates to fight "genuine fakes"

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Using digital certificatesto fight genuine fakes

of luxury goods

October 2008

Genuine fakes are fake luxuryitems sold as authentic - theyare bad and rapidly multiplying

Thisis not thereal problem!

Genuine fakes are extremelyprofitable. They will force entireindustries to rethink luxury or facerapid deflation

9X potential marginof genuine fakes

30% genuine fakediscount

Illustrative example: luxury bags

The aura of authentic luxuryitems is also tied to their high2nd hand value - but how doyou prove that your bag is real?

A digital certificate connectsone entity with its specific data

Me My My name

Me My My digital signature

...this particularbag

(1 in the world)

this particularcertificate

(1 in the world) to this particularcode/number

(attached to the bag)

is connectedthrough




in which eachcode/bag is

associated to itscertificate

and anaccount on a


has fourbags, each

with a code

1.For each product put on the market, a specificcertificate is activated on the website

2.When a customer buys the product she logsin the website, (creates an account and)associates the code on the product to heraccount, either by typing it in or by reading it with hermobile phone

3.If the website confirms that thecertificate with that code exists and it is indeedassociated with that specific kind of product, then theproduct is real

Two bags might be identical, but theone with the certificate is certainlyreal and the other is certainly fake

The remote certificate solution linksthe product/digital-certificate to theholder of the account on the web

Advantages IssuesUnique code on theproduct

Code can be copiedCode difficult to check

H o l o g r a m s ,watermarks, rfid,..

Difficult to spot andcheck by customer

Unique code + remotevalidation server

Code can be copied onrepeated on fakes

Unique code + digitalcertificate on card

Difficult to checkCard easy to loose

Unique code + digitalcertificate on server

Code easy to spot

Difficult to copy by afaker

Code easy to spot andcheck by customer

Certificate impossibleto duplicate

Certificate impossibleto duplicate & loose,easy to check

Link between customeraccount and certificate/product code




Service paid by luxury brandsCost of producing certificates is 0Leverages on critical mass

Secure by design & simple to useNo hardware, smartcards, readersBrand & customer do all the work

Resell on eBay (only?) benefitNeeds impulse from luxury brandsWill customers bother?