The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has taken a groundbreaking step in global supply chain authentication with the introduction of EBSI-ELSA. EBSI-ELSA, which stands for European Blockchain Services Infrastructure-European Logistics Services Authentication, aims to combat counterfeiting and promote product authenticity within the global supply chain.
The EUIPO seeks to create a secure blockchain infrastructure environment that facilitates information sharing among supply chain participants. Let’s explore how this innovative initiative is set to transform the industry, ensuring consumer confidence and protecting intellectual property rights.
Addressing a Global Issue
According to a joint study conducted by the EUIPO and the OECD in 2021, counterfeit trade amounted to a staggering EUR 412 billion, representing 2.5% of global trade. Such a pervasive issue raises concerns among European consumers, who often find themselves uncertain about the authenticity of the products they purchase. Recognizing the need for a comprehensive solution, the EBSI-ELSA initiative aims to reassure consumers while providing robust support to intellectual property rights holders throughout the entire product lifecycle.
The Potential of Blockchain Infrastructure
For the past four years, the EUIPO has been actively exploring the potential of blockchain infrastructure technology to ensure product authentication and move away from vulnerable isolated systems. By breaking down the existing silos and establishing an anti-counterfeiting blockchain infrastructure, the EUIPO has made significant progress towards securing the authenticity of products throughout the supply chain. This progressive journey began with the 2018 Blockathon Competition, followed by the establishment of the Blockathon Forum in 2020, and culminated in the development of the EBSI-ELSA proof of concept.
Realizing the Proof of Concept
In recent months, the EUIPO, along with IP rights holders, customs authorities, and logistics operators, have collaborated on proof-of-concept trials for EBSI-ELSA. These trials involved tracking product journeys from manufacturing sites located outside Europe to EU-based local distribution centers. On May 31, 2023, the EUIPO hosted an event at its headquarters in Alicante, unveiling the new name of the infrastructure and presenting the promising results of the product journey trials, all made possible by the innovative use of blockchain technology.
The Path to a Seamless Supply Chain
By the end of 2023, EBSI-ELSA is set to become an open-source platform for product authentication and data exchange among all supply chain parties. It aims to interconnect existing track-and-trace solutions with risk analysis systems employed by enforcement authorities and EUIPO tools such as TMview, DesignView, IPEP, and IP Register in Blockchain. This integration will empower customs officers, transport and logistics operators, and brand owners to enhance their productivity and focus on identifying suspicious goods. The brand owners will have a clear overview of their product’s journey, enabling them to assert authenticity claims in litigation cases and tackle challenges like parallel imports.
A Unified Approach by 2024
The objective is to synchronize IP authenticity management across all stakeholders involved in a supply chain. This unified approach will involve EU intellectual property offices, governments, customs authorities, manufacturers, transport and logistics operators, intermediaries, and retailers. By fostering collaboration and information sharing, EBSI-ELSA aims to eradicate counterfeiting, bolster consumer trust, and streamline the entire supply chain ecosystem.
Accessing Comprehensive Information
For those seeking more information, detailed FAQs covering various aspects of the EBSI-ELSA infrastructure are available. Stakeholders can also visit the website, where additional resources are provided for brand owners, custom officers, transport and logistics operators, and users. Short videos have been curated to deliver insights specific to each stakeholder group, offering a deeper understanding of the initiative’s potential and benefits.
EBSI-ELSA: The Future of Blockchain Infrastructure
With the introduction of EBSI-ELSA, the EUIPO has made significant strides in ensuring product authenticity throughout the global supply chain. This innovative initiative is poised to revolutionize supply chain authentication, instilling confidence in consumers and providing robust support to intellectual property rights holders. As the project progresses, the aim is to establish a unified approach that synchronizes IP authenticity management across all stakeholders, further strengthening the integrity of the supply chain ecosystem. With EBSI-ELSA paving the way, the future of secure and authentic product delivery looks brighter than ever.