Australian agricultural exporters now have access to new award-winning technology from Canberra to protect their goods from worldwide counterfeiting.
The Smart Trade Mark technology will use the Australian Government’s digital stamp of authenticity and include transparent information on a product’s provenance to safeguard export goods.
The new technology comes from IP Australia, which issues intellectual property rights, and partner, software designer Agile Digital. Smart Trade Mark is still being trialled but it has already swept the floor with awards, winning the premier Digital Canberra iAward, Public Sector & Government, and Infrastructure and Platforms Innovation of the Year awards.
Agile Digital Executive Director David Elliot says the need for a better way to protect Australian goods was demonstrated by the example of students in Australia who were selling baby milk formula to mothers in Beijing using a video of themselves purchasing and posting the tins to authenticate its provenance.
The Smart Trade Mark similarly attaches the provenance of any item for export, and much more.
“When IP Australia issues legal rights trademarks, it also issues the ability to put a bit of digital ink on your export produce, so if you are a distributor or buyer in another country, you only need to look for one piece of digital ink and verify that, and you can be rest assured that it came from Australia,” Mr Elliot says.
He says supply chain solutions for products from wine through to grain are all working on protecting brands. “But, as a consumer you don’t want to have to pull down 20 different apps or 20 different systems to validate it is Australian. You want one Australia app. Then (the app responds) bing and you know it is Aussie, now you will look closer at the individual brand.”
The company is now considering export industries or cooperatives prepared to participate in second-stage trials of the technology.
To validate the technology, Canberra’s Pialligo Estate bacon and smoked salmon was taken on the journey, scanning progress against the relevant QR code (quick response bar code) for showcasing to Singapore distributor, Little Farms.
Pialligo Estate General Manager Charlie Costello says the technology’s potential is huge.
Co-founder and head of operations at Little Farms Fred Moujalli, says he has researched the Smart Trade Mark’s blockchain technology.
“The transparency of this technology will allow me to expect deliveries and manage sales more effectively, and knowing records are unable to be tampered with provides me with peace of mind. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, I understand that anything that instils confidence and peace of mind is invaluable,” he says.
Shaw Vineyard Estate at Murrumbateman, which exports wine to China, was also involved in successful trials.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said Australia had some of the world’s most recognised brands, but this meant they were increasingly susceptible to counterfeiting.
“We know that by 2022 worldwide trade in counterfeited and pirated goods is tipped to reach $1.4 trillion,” Mr Birmingham said.
“That’s why we need to look at new ways to protect Australian brands and help our businesses keep track of their products overseas and better maintain the integrity of their supply chains.”
A cryptographically registered trade mark can serve as a “digital green and gold thread” through the variety of blockchain-powered track and trace solutions. This unified thread of verifiable digital fingerprints can offer consumers abroad a more unified, secure, and accessible made-in-Australia experience than industry-specific solutions achieve alone.
Smart Trade Mark provides additional protections against suspicious activity in the way of notifications. As each scan of the product, including at the consumer end, is location-transparent and notarised as an event against the blockchain, the technology is able to identify suspicious events and the location where those events took place, warning the trade mark owner. This notification and the data available on the blockchain empowers trade mark owners and local authorities with greater insights to counterfeiting activity in global supply chains.
IP Australia and Agile Digital will represent the ACT at the National iAwards held in Melbourne on August 29.