Law Targeting Counterfeit Electronics Will Have Global Implications, Study Finds

A new Federal anti-counterfeiting law was proposed as an amendment to the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. 

In December 2011, a new Federal anti-counterfeiting law was proposed as an amendment to the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The law is now on the books as Section 818 of the Act. It will be articulated into policy by the Defense Department at the end of June, and will be written into the main military procurement document—known as DFARS—at the end of September.

Already, however, it has been predicted that the law will have broad international implications for hundreds of overseas companies that have supplied billions of dollars’ worth of items to the U.S. government. This assessment, made by the research and data supplier IHS iSupply, identifies Europe as the largest supplier of electronics to the U.S., placing the region squarely in the sights of the new law. Europe accounts for 51% of all foreign electronics sales to the U.S. military; 47% comes from the Middle East and 2% comes from Asia.

“Not only will the impact of Section 818 be felt worldwide, but also it is bound to cross from the public to the private sector,” says Dr. James A. Hayward, Chairman, President, and CEO of Stony Brook, NY-based Applied DNA Sciences. “This is because many of the same facilities that supply the U.S. military also produce global electronic components for commercial applications. As a result, it is vital that the suppliers have new technological tools to identify components at risk of counterfeits.”

Applied DNA Sciences is developing one potential way to help meet these challenges: DNA marking, which can be integrated into existing processes and procedures with minimal, if any, change in process. Trusted and depended upon by law enforcement around the world, DNA is the “gold standard” of forensic evidence. Used by the FBI, Interpol and forensic labs worldwide, DNA authentication is absolute in character. Thus, DNA is a form of legal, forensic evidence that is accepted by courts globally.

Applied DNA Sciences has successfully used plant DNA to irrevocably mark original chips as authentic, in a project with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the agency that manages the military supply chain. The DNA can be checked at any point in the supply chain to assure authenticity.

Based on patented botanical DNA technologies, Applied DNA’s SigNature® DNA taggants are used to provide unique and traceable identifiers, on any product, as the ultimate forensic security solution. The technology uses unbreakable and uncopyable botanical DNA codes to uniquely mark the authenticity of microchips as they are produced.

In practice, the DNA marker can be identified in a quick scan on site, or fully authenticated at a forensic level by sending a sample to a lab, like those run by Applied DNA.

Applied DNA’s pilot program with the DLA has had a 100% success rate at ferreting out real from fake microchips. The cost of implementation is low, since the methods used to detect specific DNA sequences are so sensitive, requiring infinitesimal quantities of DNA to mark chips.

As Section 818 goes into effect and the requirement to comply with it is faced by suppliers worldwide, burgeoning technologies like that being developed by companies such as Applied DNA could provide a viable and economically sensible solution.


About APDN

APDN is a provider of botanical-DNA based security and authentication solutions that can help protect products, brands and intellectual property of companies, governments and consumers from theft, counterfeiting, fraud and diversion. SigNature(R) DNA and smartDNA(R), our principal anti-counterfeiting and product authentication solutions that essentially cannot be copied, provide a forensic chain of evidence and can be used to prosecute perpetrators.

Janet Vasquez


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