The rise in counterfeiting, in particular in areas such as pharmaceuticals and luxury goods, has created a market for technologies and services to tackle the problem, which is attracting interest from companies not traditionally associated with these sectors.
Nokia began developing a mobile phone-based product authentication system in 2006 and the new joint venture, which will form a company called Original1, is viewed as the next step in this business area.
Original1 will use the Nokia developed mobile authentication software in conjunction with SAP’s supply chain technology and Giesecke & Devrient’s (G&D) security and encryption expertise.
Antti-Jussi Suominen, general manager, commerce, corporate development, Nokia, added that it will provide mobility expertise and this “will bring a totally new paradigm to brand protection”.
By joining forces the companies hope to electronically tag products with tamper-proof barcodes which a manufacturer can track from factory to pharmacy using a Nokia phone. The pharmacist can then check the product information against a database to determine if it is legitimate.
Origninal1 is expected to begin operating before the end of 2009, subject to approval by anti-trust authorities, and will be headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. Claudia Alsdorf, currently vice president of SAP Research, has been selected to lead the company.
Alsdorf explained that Original1 aims to become “a one-stop shop for companies seeking secure services that protect them from counterfeiting”. Nokia and SAP will both hold 40 per cent of Original1, with G&D holding the remaining 20 per cent.