Hewlett Packard has long had to contend with counterfeiters who refill their ink cartridges with cheap replacement ink and then sell them at a premium. In fact, the company’s current anti-counterfeiting program, which uses holographic stickers, has already resulted in more than 20 million fake products being recalled in the past few years. This month, however, HP took the fight a step further, introducing QR codes to their now famous holograms.
With the QR codes, users with an Android or iOS based phone can easily perform a quick scan to find out if the product they are using is legitimate or not. The company estimates that more than half of people using fake HP ink products have no idea that they are doing so, and the QR codes provide a simple way for consumers to be certain they are using genuine HP products. While this may not curb sales of fake products online, it can certainly keep people from buying fake products in person and from using inferior products in their printers. Counterfeit inks commonly leak and can create big damage to a costly printer.
As to whether or not these QR codes will help put a dent in the sale and transfer of counterfeit and remanufactured HP ink cartridges, only time will tell. But with so many fake products flooding the market, the company has to do something to help protect their bottom line and to protect their consumers. The move is certainly a solid one, and it is one that holds a lot of promise. QR code technology has taken off incredibly quickly, and many of today’s Smartphone users already have code readers installed. This helps increase the likelihood of scanning a cartridge before purchase or use and may just be enough to help HP and consumers who have been taken advantage of team up to put a stop to the sale and purchase of refilled and cloned cartridges.