ROCHESTER, N.Y., - When Super Bowl XLII came to a close for the National Football League (NFL), the season kicked off for counterfeiters. Fake Super Bowl merchandise and memorabilia is already finding its way into the hands of unsuspecting fans, and there are few safeguards to separate real products from the counterfeits.
Thousands of fans and collectors that visited this year's NFL Experience in Arizona caught a glimpse of one company that is taking a stand against counterfeits: new Donruss NFL trading cards, protected with an industry leading covert Anticounterfeiting solution from KODAK.
Highly valuable trading cards, worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars, are becoming a key target for counterfeiters who make an estimated $500 million from counterfeit sports and celebrity memorabilia. In January, Kodak and Donruss announced that they had teamed together to implement invisible KODAK TRACELESS System technology on Donruss premium cards.
"Counterfeiters targeting collectible items is out and out stealing. It is not only hurting the athletes that are signing things, it is hurting the fans who got in to it because they want authentic stuff to remember a play or a game. If it is counterfeit, it destroys the memory," said Dwight Clark, former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver. "The fact that Kodak and Donruss have a technology to stop this I think is awesome."
Earlier this year, The New York Times reported an Arizona sports store was caught with more than $140,000 worth of fake sports memorabilia. While most of the items were related to the NFL and the Super Bowl, other professional sports organizations, including Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, were also targets of counterfeit jerseys and collectibles.
"With the TRACELESS System, we are able to aggressively combat this counterfeit sports memorabilia problem and protect our customers," said Bill Sawtelle, VP of Quality Assurance, Donruss Playoff L.P. "Because we can use this solution on virtually any material, we intend to expand our use of the TRACELESS System across our lines of trading cards to ensure that when someone buys a Donruss trading card, they get an authentic collectible that appreciates over time."
Donruss consistently looks for new ways to use authentic game worn material to create unique and valuable trading cards. These high value and exclusive cards continue to be highly sought after across the sports memorabilia market.
"Counterfeits are increasing across many industries, including sports memorabilia and equipment, and this is becoming a serious problem for manufacturers and collectors of these items," said Steve Powell, General Manager & Director, Security Solutions, Kodak's Graphic Communications Group. "Now and in the future, Donruss trading cards will be equipped with an invisible component that counterfeiters won't be able to copy, eliminating their ability to make cheap knockoffs."
KODAK Security Solutions bring together the resources of Kodak's vast intellectual property portfolio, and expertise in material science, digital imaging and printing to deliver products and technologies that protect against counterfeiting and diversion. KODAK Security Solutions are backed by the worldwide resources of Kodak's Service and Support organization. For more information about Kodak's Security Solutions visit www.graphics.Kodak.com.