When the law fails to stop knockoffs -- most of the time, in the case of fashion -- manufacturers turn to technology. In the 1920s, couturiere Madeline Vionnet borrowed a hot tip from criminology and stamped her thumbprint on clothing labels:
This century's technologies are being put to similar use. Today's Wall Street Journal reports that luxury goods company Fendi had incorporated holograms into its labels:
Meanwhile, scientists are developing DNA technologies to identify consumer goods:
What's next -- "smart" handbags that will recognize and hail other genuine goods? Embedded microprocessors that will give the wearer access to retail VIP rooms or sample sales? Geek chic is no longer science fiction; it's fast becoming retail reality.