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NEW YORK – Luxury US apparel brand, Ralph Lauren, has announced new ‘digital product identities’ for millions of its products in a bid to combat rampant global counterfeiting issues. The new IDs allow customers to scan product labels with a smartphone to confirm whether their purchase is an Ralph Lauren product or a fake. Ralph Lauren has become the first global retail brand to apply this kind technology at scale.

Figures from earlier this year showed footwear and clothing are easily the most counterfeited goods, with the overall number of fake goods now representing 3.3 per cent of global trade. A report by the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office found China and Hong Kong are the two biggest markets for fakes, representing more than 80 per cent of all trade in such goods.

Of note with regards to the apparel sector is the rise in the counterfeiting of faux fur and real fur, and this blurring of the lines would explain why real fur is increasingly being found in faux fur collections, and is likely to continue to do so in future. In all, footwear makes up 22 per cent of all fake goods, while clothing represents 16 per cent.

The new technology of Ralph Lauren aims to means customers can authenticate Polo products themselves, “helping to combat counterfeits, grey market items and trademark infringement.”

David Lauren, chief innovation officer with Ralph Lauren said: “The launch of Digital Product IDs demonstrates how we continue to use technology to deliver more for our consumers and ensure the integrity of our products throughout their lifecycle. The application of this technology means every Polo product will be ‘born-digital’ which represents a new milestone in data intelligence innovation in our sector.”

Digital Product IDs are being phased into all Polo Ralph Lauren products and are currently available for certain products in select global retail stores and on RalphLauren.com. 

The technology has been developed in partnership with Evrythng, a connected IoT platform, and technology partner Avery Dennison. 

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