A Little Program We’ve Been Working on For the Last Forty-Nine YearsKevin Crimmins
In our Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration post, we launched our celebration of The Label Printers 50th year in business. As noted in that piece, during the company’s second year in business we completed our first job for Underwriters Laboratories, now known as UL. No one could have guessed back in 1968 when the first order came through that we would go on to produce billions of labels for UL – more than a billion in some years – and become the only printer in the world that they rely on for a wildly successful and innovative program.
Within a few years of that first order, we entered into an exclusive agreement with UL to be the provider of labels that it requires approved makers of countless consumer goods affix to their products. Those labels, including the widely recognized golden holographic labels that we see every day on things like lamps, ceiling fans, and holiday light strings, would become universally recognized as a symbol that the product has been rigorously tested and found to be safe. Consumers know that a manufacturer who earns the right to display that mark cares about the safety and well-being of its customers.
The Label Printers is proud of the special role it has played in this program. More than just a “seal of approval,” the UL label on a consumer product has come to signify authenticity. It is not only consumers who understand the meaning of these labels. Every day, law enforcement officers and other officials rely on the UL labels that we make to keep unsafe and unauthorized goods from reaching consumers. Certain law enforcement professionals, such as Homeland Security agents working in ports, receive special training to identify real products by locating the UL labels and utilizing authentication features built into the labels to determine whether those products are genuine. The UL program has proven so reliable for this purpose that agents tasked with inspecting large volumes of cargo have been known to first seek out UL-marked products, leaving items with less definitive approaches to authentication to be dealt with later.
UL’s labeling program and others like it from industries as diverse as sporting goods, automotive and aviation parts, software, office equipment, and luxury goods to name just a few, have come to be recognized as brand protection programs. Today the brand protection industry is thriving. As e-commerce has emerged and the economy has globalized, counterfeit products, look-alikes, and fakes have proliferated. Brand protection itself has become a multi-billion-dollar industry globally.
Over the years, UL has been recognized on many occasions for their leadership in brand protection programs, which have been developed by a team of visionary individuals within UL, motivated by a desire to keep consumers safe by helping them know which products to use. Our primary role all along has been to create durable, reliable tags and labels that could be applied to products and would help people know which products can be trusted. In addition to that, we support UL with a secure global distribution program for the labels.
In recent years, we have been called on by other companies to share our brand protection expertise with them and to help them to address their own brand protection and product authentication challenges. We are delighted with every opportunity to do that.