Toppan NFC tags used to protect Be@rbrick figures

Japan's Medicom Toy – the company behind the Be@rbrick collectible figures that can sell for hundreds of dollars apiece – has turned to tech company Toppan to protect its creations from counterfeiting.

The plastic figures – first launched in 2001 and now available in a massive range of sizes and styles, including some developed by fashion designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood – are sought after by collectors and so inevitably a target for counterfeiters.

Some of the most popular are the 1000% Be@rbricks, which are more than two feet high and can sell for thousands of dollars each.

To protect its brand, Medicom has started to use near-field communication (NFC) "" tags developed by Japanese technology company Toppan and partner Hakuhodo Products as an anti-counterfeit feature on three recently released Be@rbrick toys (pictured above).

Customers can verify the authenticity of their collectible by holding their smartphones over the Toppan NFC tag embedded in the right leg of each Be@rbrick, said the company in a statement.

"Medicom Toy has been impacted by numerous Be@rbrick imitations and has therefore partnered with Hakuhodo Product's to develop, enabling both digital and physical authentication, to eliminate risks associated with counterfeits circulating unchecked," said Toppan in a statement.

"This includes preventing damage to the brand and loss of revenue as well as negative impacts on consumers who purchase imitation goods believing them to be genuine," it added.

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