Merck files patent for blockchain-based meds tracking

German pharma group Merck KGaA has filed a US patent application (20180174158) for a method that uses blockchain to guard against counterfeiting and tampering.

The application – entitled Composite Security Marking – describes the use of blockchain as part of a layered security system to provide anti-counterfeit and anti-tampering protection for physical objects. The system comprises marking medicines with a physical unclonable function (PUF) – described as a physical entity in the product with a unique microstructure – linked to an encrypted digital signature that could be used for authentication and tracking of product through the supply chain.

The application envisages that the integrity of that data would be stored and protected using blockchain, a public ledger system that Merck notes is “hardened against tampering and revision by cryptographic means.”

A summary of the patent application appears below:

Composite Security Marking

Abstract: The present disclosure relates to the field of anti-counterfeit protection of products. Specifically, the disclosure is directed to a composite security marking for a physical object, in particular to an anti-counterfeit product marking. In particular, without limitation, such composite security marking can be used in connection with or can form a component of a multi-component security system, in particular of an anti-counterfeit protection system, which is also disclosed herein as part of an overall solution for anti-counterfeit protection. The composite security marking comprises a physical unclonable function, PUF, and a representation of a digital signature or of a pointer indicating a location where said digital signature can be accessed. The digital signature digitally signs a hash value resulting from application of a predetermined cryptographic hash function to data representing a response generated by the PUF in reaction to a challenge of a predetermined challenge-response authentication scheme.

Application number: 20180174158

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