SCRIBOS is a brand protection company that helps brands to equip each product with a customised security tag, that gives the product an unique identity and connects it to the digital world. This helps to fight counterfeits and increase revenue by selling more originals. In addition, SCRIBOS helps to detect grey market activities and overproduction, while opening avenues for customer interaction.

Interview with Dr. Steffen Scheibenstock, Head of Digital Business Development at SCRIBOS.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Steffen Scheibenstock: Stop Counterfeiting

With market-leading technology and digital platform SCRIBOS enables consumers to reliably identify originals, spot counterfeit products worldwide and allows brands to remove fakes from the market.

Avoid Grey Markets

Reliable, practicable security tags allow to detect grey market activities by monitoring the market in real-time. This enables brand owners to take immediate and effective action against possible illegal activities and parallel markets.

Control Quantities

Illegal products produced in the ‘third shift’, often produced on the same machines as authorised products, can be monitored with our counterfeit-proof security tags and the SCRIBOS 360 digital platform by giving the brand owner transparency and control over third party production sites.

Manage Licensing Business

Licensing management solution allow to manage licenses centrally, to protect the brand image. This includes the handling of contractual details between licensor and licensee. The licensee simply orders the appropriate product markings online through our digital platforms. Order volumes can be compared with sales reports via the connection to the licensing management platform and licensing fees are payed and transferred in the background automatically. This reduces the effort for the licensor to a minimum.

Initiate Customer Interaction

With our smart labels and markings, you can create touchpoints for customer engagement, which helps strengthen brand loyalty and gather valuable market data. This gives brands an easy way to offer digital product and ingredients information, cross-selling options, bonus programs or competitions, which will at the same time strengthen customer loyalty and trust in their brand.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

S.S: Printed Security Solution: ValiGate®

ValiGate® is a simple, scalable and sustainable brand protection solution, that can be printed directly onto the product packaging or onto a label. Without the costly use of random patterns or fingerprint technology, ValiGate® can be integrated into a QR code. An embed, patented security pattern, that can neither be copied nor re-engineered offers a forgery-proof, serialized and scalable counterfeit protection for large product volumes. Consumers can easily and reliably authenticate products and detect counterfeits and grey market goods. No app is required for the authentication process, so that everybody can reliably check the authenticity of a product. By linking each ValiGate® to our digital platform, every scan is turned into actionable data for brand owners to push fakes out of the market and gain back market shares from counterfeiters. On top of this, it opens avenues for customer interaction, track and trace and market analysis.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

S.S: Security labels

SCRIBOS security markings are manufactured using innovative and proprietary technologies and offer maximum protection against counterfeiting. Highest-level protection with PrioSpot®, maximum protection with VeoMark®, high security with printed ValiGate® or our solutions combined with TrustSeal holograms from KURZ offer automatically verifiable features for all target groups. All of our products are fully customisable, 100% serialised  and combine overt, semi-overt and covert features for easy authentication by all target groups. In over 20 years there has been no successful imitation attempt of our solutions.

Tamper-proof seals

Security seals protect against unauthorised opening and refilling to prevent fraud and theft by clearing indicating opening by showing a void effect, which is irreversible. This first-opening effect remains visible even if an attempt is made to reseal the tamper-evident seal. The design, including the opening effect (void effect), can be fully customised according to your packaging design and your corporate identity. The seals are also available in a sustainable paper version.

HiddenCode labels

Like the tamper-proof security seals the HiddenCode labels also indicate initial opening and can – on top – be digitally verified a QR Code, which is printed on top. Additionally, a hidden code – inside the void effect – protects loyalty program codes from unauthorised access and misuse. This is an absolute must for bonus point programs or sweepstakes, to prevent stealing or harvesting of codes.

Digital Platform SCRIBOS360

All of the brand protection technology are connected to the innovative digital cloud platform SCRIBOS 360. This includes the fast and intuitive online authentication for all consumer, logins for brand experts with an overview of all scans and statistics, a grey-market detection & alert module, a code-management and order platform, a promotion- and loyalty-program management module, a licensing management platform and an analytics module with intelligent algorithms, using AI.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

S.S: Globalization and internet trading are the reasons for an increase of counterfeit goods all over the world. The Intellectual Property Office of the European Union (EUIPO) and the OECD are regularly publishing number on the global trade in counterfeit and pirated products. The trade with counterfeit goods is estimated to be more than 400 billion USD globally, which corresponds to 2.5% of the complete world trade. The EU is affected with a fake rate of 5.8% of all incoming imports. Containers with fake shoes are regularly detected in the Hamburg harbor, coming into Germany and other EU countries. Most affected markets are footwear, clothing, leather articles, electronics, perfumery and cosmetics. But we also see a high fake rates in automotive / spare parts, lubricants, chemicals, pharma products, wine & spirits, all kind of luxury goods (watches, handbags…) and lately also in fast moving consumer goods, like honey – as an example. 

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

S.S: In the last couple of years – sped up drastically by the Covid pandemic situation – the internet trade has been increasing. Globalization makes brands available world-wide. Anywhere products of well-known brands are sold, counterfeits of the same brands are sold. High price items with good margins are counterfeited globally, but counterfeiters are also focusing on low-hanging fruit, where the distribution is done by the brand itself and consumers will not easily realize. An example for this is the agrochemical and crop-protection market: a farmer cannot distinguish if the content of the container is water or really a herbicide or pesticide. He will only notice 6 months later, when the harvest is lost. A clear trend can be observed across all markets: the trade with counterfeits is growing dramatically. 

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

S.S: In the brand protection market it is important that a solution is only available from a single, trusted source, that does not offer their products and services to counterfeiters. In addition, it should be cost-efficient and – of course – impossible to copy. A cloud back-end that tracks the scans of counterfeits is another essential part of an innovative product, this includes proven success for finding and shutting down counterfeit sites. SCRIBOS ValiGate® combines all these innovation in a copy-protected QR code that can be directly printed by print-shops all around the world. The innovation lies in the fact that this is a cost-effective solution that can be scaled and printed in millions of print shops around the globe offering protection for products, the possibility to authenticate and check for each and every consumer and added extra benefits like track & trace and consumer engagement, like e.g. loyalty programs on top.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2023?

S.S: We do see that counterfeiting is a growing problem, which has increase dramatically during the pandemic, due to the progressive globalization and the dramatic increase in online sales over the last years. Counterfeits are also sold via different social media platforms and reach the center of Europe. They are therefore not a problem that exists only in distant parts of the world. Our estimation for 2023 and 2024 is therefore a further increase in the numbers of counterfeits worldwide and hopefully an appropriate reaction by brand owners to deal with this fact by fighting the loss in revenue with an effective brand protection program.