US company Lepton-id has developed a security thread that it says could be used to authenticate clothing and other fabric-based products.
The New Jersey-based company - the brand protection division of barcode and wireless communication specialist ZBA Inc - said the security thread can be detected using optical scanners but is completely undetectable to the human eye or ultraviolet (UV) detection systems.
The taggants can be incorporated into any thread and so can be used in standard sewing applications and can be customised as required, according to Lepton-id.
The company has created developed two different types of optical detectors for the taggants; the VI1170 can give a simple present/not present readout, while the VL6300 can visualise a hidden is created when the threads are sewn into the clothing.
The two detectors give a dual layer of protection, according to Lepton-id, with the ability to create and detect a distinguishing pattern avoiding the possibility that counterfeiters could simply incorporate their own taggants to try to fool the system.
The practice of removing the taggants from the thread is virtually impossible, it noted, as the technology can only be removed by cutting out every piece of thread that was used to make the clothing.
"Technological protection is seen to be the best way to avoid the problem in counterfeit apparel, divergent product and brand protection," said Lepton-id in a statement. It will market the optically responsive material and the optical detectors in a number of businesses configurations, such as technology licensing or direct OEM sales.