Introducing Countermark 

Wessex Technology's latest development.

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Countermark is a combined human and machine readable serialisation code with a digital fingerprint for anti-counterfeit protection. Countermark uses proven Wessex IT and imaging know-how to create a distributed cross network authentication and data retrieval system.

Countermark uses a new class of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that reliably reads dot-based characters, of the type used throughout industry for lot codes, “Best By” dates and other variable product data. Countermark uses a standardised data carrier for best read performance and a high level of data compression.  Countermarks can be printed directly onto the product and cannot be peeled off or transferred to other products.

Continuous Ink Jet Print (CIJP) is the standard printing technology already used for lot codes “Best By” dates and other variable product information on most of the products found in industry and food and drinks manufacturing. The characteristic dot-based characters are normally irregular and cannot easily meet the print specifications for other machine readable character standards, bar codes, or 2D-codes such as Data Matrix and QR.  Countermark allows item- specific product data to be read from a wide range of materials that are “off-limits” to conventional barcodes and data matrix symbols. Serialisation data can now be applied to many items and materials that previously needed labels or relied on the product package for traceability data.

Smart Phones are used to read Countermarks so there is no need to equip staff with customised readers.  The use of a smart phone means product data can be read by a much wider range of people, including customs officers, distributors, customers and recyclers.  The read results from the smart phone are available in seconds.

Business Analytics and customer engagement data are generated every time a Countermark is read. The aggregated read data can be used to analyse supply chain delays and grey market diversion. Every time a customer reads a Countermark, unique data can be made available to both parties. Furthermore the Brand Owner can present special offers, product data and other personalised data. The Customer’s phone, subject to permissions, can show their location, identity and/or demographic data.

Human Readable fonts are used in Countermark to store the machine readable data.  As the fonts are directly human readable, a second reprint of data is not needed, unlike with bar codes or data matrix codes. Currently Latin Cyrillic, Chinese and Japanese fonts are available. The use of human readable fonts also means that Countermark data can be replicated on consignment documents, greatly enhancing the process of auditing supply chains. A Windows font set is available to simplify the incorporation of Countermarks into consignment documents.

High Data Content is achieved using advanced data compression.  The table "Countermark data content" shows the composition of the two compression schemes which are available. The standard Countermark contains 100 bits of data and 12 parity characters which is the same as a 16 x 16 cell data matrix. For custom or specific market segment data compression configurations, please contact us.

Local Codes, for example production line number or factory number can be selected by the manufacturer.

Reliable Data Interpretation is achieved using Reed-Solomon parity controls, as used to ensure data is interpreted correctly in optical disks, cell phones and satellite communications. The individual Countermark characters are designed to support the Reed-Solomon methodology.

Counterfeit Protection is an inherent part of Countermark.

A Digital Fingerprint of each Countermark can be recorded directly after printing. The small inherent random variations in the position of each of the dots form a digital fingerprint. During smart phone authentication the random dot positions that form a Countermark are compared to the original print to verify the Countermark and product authenticity.

Randomised Data can be encoded in each Countermark, the random number being generated during the print process.

Patented Technology - Countermark is protect by US patents US9,104,936 and US 9,010,654 and other patents pending.


More Information

If you would like to know more, contact us, or visit the Countermark website.

Countermark is a registered trademark of Wessex Technology OEP Ltd