Why do I Need a Barcode
There is no law that mandates the use of a barcode on retail product labels, however having one is required by most distributors and retailers for the purpose of inventory tracking and sales records. If you’re planning to make your products available for sale in the retail market, you should definitely get a barcode from GS1, which is the official and global barcode number source. When you get a GS1 barcode, you can be sure that GS1 will assign and register a unique number that will identify your business as the manufacturer of the product. You will be provided with a distinct 12 digit Universal Product Code (UPC) or EAN identification number, which you will enter into your barcode labels. A registered barcode is embedded with specific information about a retail product so when it is scanned, the data is already in the system for instant product identification.
Barcodes from Re-sellers
Is Purchasing a Barcode from a Re-seller Legal? As a reaction to a court case, which the Uniform Code Council settled for $3.89 million, in August of 2002, they amended their contract to state “The license agreement for our membership prohibits any use of the Company Prefix other than for the use of the owner company, including but not limited to selling, sharing, leasing, sub-dividing, or re-selling the Company Prefix”. Since this statement was not included in the application for any company who purchased a membership and received a Company Prefix prior to that date, these limitations were never part of the original agreement and consequently numbers from older prefixes could be sub-divided.
Can Purchased Barcodes be used at all Stores? There are several very large retailers that work closely with GS1 and have agreed with GS1 to only allow retail products in their stores if the company is registered directly with GS1. If you are going to sell to one of these major retailers you must purchase your UPC code directly from GS1 (and pay the high enrollment costs and large annual fees). As far as we know, there are only a handful of companies that require a copy of this certificate: Kroger’s, Walmart/Sam’s Club, JC Penney’s and Macy’s. Depending on your buyer and region, Walgreen’s, Loews and Home Depot may have additional requirements. It’s always important to ask your retailers for their Vendor Compliance Documents.
Who is George Laurer?
GEORGE J. LAURER – is the inventor of the UPC in 1973. On his site AuthenticatedUPCRegistrationDirectory.org he cautions: Understand that adjectives like “official”, “authorized”, or statements that make or imply that your UPC number will be registered with GS1/UCC are only marketing hype (GS1 only registers the prefix). In particular note the terms set by the re-seller, his warranty, and whether or not you will own the number and will have the right to resell it yourself or if you are only “renting” the number. Choose the one best suited to your needs.