Family-owned Meyers Printing Companies of Brooklyn Park quietly has sold a promising electronic product-verification technology that it developed about a decade ago, while working with 3M to help Microsoft combat pirates that were counterfeiting software.
Optel Group of Quebec, Canada, a leading provider of “traceability systems” for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, earlier this month acquired the “Verify Brand” subsidiary of Meyers for more than $10 million.
Optel President Louis Roy said the acquisition allows the Canadian company to expand its portfolio of tracing products to new industries.
Chairman David Dillon of Meyers said the Verify software uses “random ‘alphanumeri’ codes” to authenticate customer products, from a brand of Scotch whiskey to computer parts.
“A random code is the only thing that can truly authenticate a product,” Dillon said
The problem ranges from counterfeit software to pharmaceuticals, to stolen goods from retailers that are sold over the Internet.
“Ebay is the largest ‘fencing’ operation for professional shoplifters,” Meyers said. “People from Target and Walmart have gone to Congress about this for years.
“The Verify system allows an individual or company to know when a product they have in their hands is authentic. The problem with holograms or color-shifting ink, like a $20 bill, is that the bad guys make an equivalent hologram or color-shifting ink. This is digital. You can prove whether the product is good or not.”
Dillon said his company needed substantial capital to support the growth of the business.
“We simply didn't have the scale to do this,” Dillon said. “We had to be in Europe and Asia and South America. We had the better engine, but it needed a bigger boat. This is an international-size project. We could have taken on a bunch of investment capital, and then only own some of the business, or sell to a company with international scale. By international standards, we’re a relatively small company.”
Privately held Meyers, with 230 employees, has revenue of about $65 million.