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Title:
METHODS FOR USING CENTRAL SITE REGISTRATION FOR FORGERY DETECTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/132027
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method is provided wherein purchasers of products are offered an incentive to register their products with a central registration site. The purchaser provides an identifier associated with their product for registration, and the identifier is input into the central registration site and validated. If the identifier is determined to be valid and not previously registered, the identifier is registered with the centra! registration site and the player is awarded the incentive offered for registering their product. If the identifier is determined to be valid but previously registered, or if the identifier is determined to be invalid, then a request is issued to the purchaser to provide logistical information concerning purchase of the product prior to providing the incentive to the purchaser. The logistical information is maintained and may be used for detection of forgery activities related to the product.

Inventors:
IRWIN, JR., Kenneth, Earl (2141 Warhill Park, Dawsonville, Georgia, 30534, US)
STREETER, Gary (35 William Street, Andover, Massachusetts, 01810, US)
Application Number:
IB2010/054938
Publication Date:
October 27, 2011
Filing Date:
November 01, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SCIENTIFIC GAMES HOLDINGS LIMITED (Athlone Road Ballymahon Co. Longford, Dublin 4, IE)
IRWIN, JR., Kenneth, Earl (2141 Warhill Park, Dawsonville, Georgia, 30534, US)
STREETER, Gary (35 William Street, Andover, Massachusetts, 01810, US)
International Classes:
G06Q30/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BONDURA, Stephen, E. (Dority & Manning, P.a.P O Box 144, Greenville SC, 29602-1449, US)
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Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1 . A method of providing forgery countermeasures using a central registration site wherein purchasers of products register their products, the method comprising:

offering an incentive to purchasers of a product to register the product with a central registration site;

upon the purchaser providing an identifier associated with their product for registration, accessing and inputting the identifier into the central registration site; validating the identifier by comparing the identifier with a database of valid identifiers maintained by the central registration site;

if the identifier is determined to be valid and not previously registered, registering the product and awarding the incentive to the purchaser for registering their product;

if the identifier is determined to be valid but previously registered or if the identifier is determined to be invalid, then issuing a request to the purchaser to provide logistical information concerning purchase of the product prior to providing the incentive to the purchaser; and

maintaining records of the logistical information for detection of forgery activities related to the product.

2. The method of claim , wherein the incentive provided to the purchaser is the awarding of a prize associated with the product.

3. The method of claim 1 , wherein the incentive provided to the purchaser is any one of a coupon, a reward for forgery detection, or warranty registration.

4. The method of claim 1 , wherein the product identifier is provided on a token associated with the product, the purchaser presenting the token to register the product, and further comprising retaining the token if the identifier is invalid or valid but previously registered.

5. The method of claim 1 , wherein the product identifier is a unique serial number associated with the product.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the serial number is a keyed

cryptographic hash.

7. The method of claim 1 , wherein the purchaser is provided with a notification and contact information to contact the central registration site if the product identifier is invalid or valid but subsequently registered to provide the logistical information.

8. The method as in claim 7, wherein the purchaser is provided with the incentive after providing the logistical information.

Description:
TITLE

METHODS FOR USING CENTRAL SITE REGISTRATION FOR FORGERY DETECTION

PRIORITY CLAIM

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent

Application 61/342,756 filed on April 9, 2010, and which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present application relates to security measures for printed documents to decrease forgeries of the documents, and more particularly to a central site registration system that employs forgery countermeasures.

BACKGROUND

[0003] As printing technologies have evolved over the past several decades so has the sophistication of counterfeiters. Indeed, this past decade has seen an approximately 400% increase in known forgeries of American brand cigarettes resulting in an excess of $4 billion in lost revenue to the industry. The rapid increase in forgeries is not just confined to cigarettes. The coupon and pharmaceutical industries are also reporting increases in forgery cases with documented forgeries in other industries emerging every day.

[0004] Along with this explosive growth in forgeries, the forgery countermeasure industry is also flourishing. Recent innovations include such exotic, covert, and overt technologies as: covert phosphors that fluoresce in light wavelengths shorter than the excitation source, covert micro taggants of approximately 0 microns in size, overt color shifting inks, overt holograms, etc. However, these covert and overt forgery countermeasures greatly increase the cost of printing and packaging and are being compromised by forgers at an alarming rate. For example, covert countermeasure phosphors that fluoresce in light wavelengths shorter than the excitation source were until recently considered to be an excellent forgery countermeasure. However, in the recent past, such phosphors became available for sale to anyone over the Internet. Additionally, with overt forgery countermeasures, the consumer rarely has a discriminating enough eye to differentiate the sometimes small differences between authentic overt countermeasures and forgeries. For example, a forgery hologram may not produce the exact same color shift that is observed with an authentic hologram, however, few (if any) consumers would notice the difference between the authentic and the forgery. Even if a consumer did notice a difference between the authentic and the forgery, most consumers would simple assume the difference was attributable to a style change or a different edition of the product and not pursue the matter further.

[0005] Thus, it is highly desirable to develop methodologies for providing forgery countermeasures that are not dependent on the printing process itself with its inherent high costs and low long-term effectiveness. Additionally, a new forgery countermeasure that provides covert and overt security as well as automatic detection of forgery samples along with supplying a forensic record would also be highly desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] Aspects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the following description, or may be obvious from the description, or may be learned through practice of the invention.

[0007] Described are various methods that provide practical details for achieving, low cost, forgery protection via a system of central site registration and tracking. One such method using a central registration site wherein purchasers of products register their products includes offering an incentive to the purchasers to register their product with the central registration site. The purchaser provides an identifier associated with their product for registration, and the identifier is input into the central registration site. The identifier is validated by comparing the identifier with a database of valid identifiers maintained by the central registration site. If the identifier is determined to be valid and not previously registered, the identifier (and thus the product) is registered with the central registration site and the player is awarded the incentive offered for registering their product. If the identifier is determined to be valid but previously registered or if the identifier is determined to be invalid, then a request is issued to the purchaser to provide logistical information concerning purchase of the product prior to providing the incentive to the purchaser. The logistical information is maintained and may be used for detection of forgery activities related to the product.

[0008] The incentives provided to the purchaser may vary widely depending on the nature of the product. For example, the incentive may be a prize award that is associated with the product and which can only be collected after the registration process. In other embodiments, the incentive provided to the purchaser is any one of a coupon, a reward for forgery detection, or warranty registration.

[0009] The product identifier may be, for example, a unique serial number that is associated with each product. This serial number may be in hashed or encrypted form. The identifier may be provided on a token associated with the product, whereby the purchaser retains the product but presents the token to register the product. Thus, the token may be retained by central registration authority, particularly if the identifier is invalid or valid but previously registered, and to also prevent subsequent presentation of the same token.

[0010] In a particular embodiment, the purchaser is provided with a notification and contact information to contact the central registration site if the product identifier is invalid or valid but subsequently registered to provide the logistical information, For example, the purchaser may be provided with a toll-free number to contact the central registration site. Only after the purchaser contacts the site and provides the logistical information or the potentially forged product, is the purchaser provided with the registration incentive.

[0011] These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description and appended claims. The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof, directed to one of ordinary skill in the art is set forth in the present specification, which makes reference to the appended figure, in which: [0013] FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating a method embodiment of providing forgery countermeasures with a central site registration process.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the drawing. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention, and not as a limitation of the invention. In fact, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used with another embodiment to yield still a further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

[0015] FIG. 1 depicts a first method of providing forgery

countermeasures via central site registration and monitoring beginning with the consumer making a purchase 100 and attempting to register his product (e.g., a token identifying or associated with the product) 101 at a central site. There are numerous methods to entice a consumer to register a product after purchase, including (but not limited to): contest registration for a prize, coupon with some value that first must be activated at a central site, reward for forgery detection, warranty registration, etc. Any of these enticements or reasons are compatible with the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1.

[0016] Back to FIG. 1 , in the first step of the registration process (which may be or redemption of a prize or other value associated with the product), the central site will automatically receive the entered code serial number associated with the product token and perform a test 02 to determine if the token's code serial number is valid, as well as to confirm that it has not been validated before. The test 102 would thereby detect both forgeries of tokens wherein the serial number was fabricated by the forger or where the forger made multiple copies of the same originally authentic token serial number code for placement in a counterfeit product. It should be noted, that to be used as an effective

countermeasure, the token serial number must be sufficiently complex (e.g., keyed cryptographic hash of sequential serial numbers) to make guessing valid numbers by a forger virtually impossible.

[0017] Back to the registration process of FIG. 1 (test 102), if the token serial number is determined to be both valid and not previously registered, the central site will simply log the authentic token serial number code in its database 103 and pay the consumer any value due at that time 104 or add the payment to the consumer's running account 104, or inform the consumer that the product is authentic, or notify the consumer that his warranty registration is valid, or some other response appropriate to the method that was initially used to entice the consumer to register the product token. However, if the token serial number code was determined by test 102 to be either not valid or a previously used serial number, the registration process will initiate the forgery countermeasure algorithm beginning at test 105.

[0018] As shown in FIG. 1 , the first step of this forgery countermeasure control program is simply to determine if the serial number code 105 was not processed because it was not a valid number on the system or because it was a valid number that was previously registered. If the serial number code is

determined, by test 105, to be a valid number that was previously registered, it is unlikely that the token serial number code was erroneously entered as a keying error, and the forgery countermeasure process could proceed directly to notifying the consumer that he has won a prize at 1 10 or some other message 1 10 to the effect that the token serial number has already been registered and if he thinks he received this message in error, to dial a toll free number or make other contact with the central site operator responsible for the registration/redemption program.

Obviously, there are multiple other methods of handling a previously registered token serial number at 1 10, including generating the previously registered message the first or second time a serial number is repeated registered and progressing to the prize winning message after repeated attempts— repeated attempts being a more likely indicator that multiple forgeries of the token serial number have been placed into circulation.

[0019] Again, returning to the valid-previously-registered/not-valid serial number code test 105 of FIG. 1 , in the event that test 105 determines that the entered token serial number is not a valid number, the forgery countermeasure control program could request that the consumer reenter the token serial number at 106 since it is possible that the erroneous serial number was simply an entry error and not a forgery. If the reentry of the token serial number code produces a new valid number as determined by test 107, then the forgery countermeasure control program could safely exit processing this registration attempt and forward the registration to the logging 103 and optional award 104 processes previously described via connectors 108 and 109. However, if the reentry results in the same not valid serial number as determined by test 107, the forgery cou termeasure control program would then display a prize winning or other message at 1 10. Of course, as is obvious to anyone skilled in the art, test 107 could display a third reentry request if the reentered serial number was not valid but still different than the first entry.

[0020] Proceeding to 11 1 after displaying a message (e.g., 'call a toll free number for a special prize 1 ) at 10 that causes the consumer to contact a central site operator. Once the consumer contacts the central site seeking compensation, at 1 1 1 he can be informed that his prize/reward 1 12 will be sent to him as soon as he discloses where he purchased the apparent forged product and surrenders the associated forged token. Thus, a database can be easily

accumulated of where counterfeit product is being sold to the public along with forensic evidence of the actual forged product. Obviously, the request for purchase information and the apparent forged ticket need not identify to the consumer that a fraud is suspected. Also, as is obvious to anyone skilled in the art, there are numerous variations of the disclosed embodiment of the forgery countermeasure process with some being more desirable under different circumstances.

[0021] The advantages of the disclosed embodiments of the forgery countermeasure process over printed countermeasures are numerous. First, the central site registration process, tokens, and any added value will most likely cost less than exotic printed countermeasures previously described. Second, the central site registration process and the associated forgery countermeasure control program, offer both covert and overt forgery security. The covert security being supplied by the forgery countermeasure program unknown logic (to the forger) and the overt security being supplied by the obvious fact that the product includes tokens that can be registered at a central site, thereby making it much more likely that a consumer will become cognizant of the fraudulent product and consequently threatening the forger's distribution network. Another benefit of the process is that the company or entity issuing the authentic product will accumulate quantitative data rapidly of how widespread any forgeries are in the public domain. Yet another benefit is that both forensic data and evidence is automatically accumulated enabling the entity issuing the authentic product to conduct criminal prosecution against fraudulent members in the distribution channel if he chooses to do so. Finally, the system has the advantage that even if only a small percentage of consumers actually register their tokens, the threat of possible detection by the system would nevertheless discourage would be forgers.

[0022] This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to practice the invention, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they include structural or process elements that meet the literal language of the claims or have only insubstantial differences compared to the literal language of the claims.