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Barcoding: Clarity and Legality

It seems that the nature of barcodes is a somewhat murkier and more confusing place than one would expect at first glance. As such this blog is going to attempt to offer greater depth and clarity on the issue and examine more specifically some areas of potential confusion.

Decoding Barcoding

So what is a barcode? It is an image which can be instantly read by a laser scanner to generate a sequence of numbers which a computer can connect information to. This number can vary from 8-14 digits long. That is literally all there is to it. However, since the purpose of the barcode is to differentiate each product from all other products just letting people pick their own codes clearly has flaws as a plan. Because the barcode is an international standard in order for it to be useful as a business tool any legislation would require international governmental business agreement which, without getting political, is unlikely to occur. As such the not for profit organisation GS1 has built up an international database of barcodes in various countries making it the industry standard such that even other companies buy GS1 codes to sell on and in the case of any dispute courts will err in the favour of GS1. The GS1 s