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Get real: PatchScan app, official BSA hologram make it easy to see what’s legit

hologram-patch“Only three of these patches were ever made. Baden-Powell’s granddaughter sewed each one by hand using thread from a jacket once worn by James E. West.”

Does that patch-trading pitch make your Spidey sense tingle?

In the past, you might have just laughed, said “no deal” and walked away. Now, verifying the claim is as easy as pulling out your smartphone.

The Boy Scouts of America’s official, free PatchScan app, available for iOS and Android devices, takes the guesswork out of patch trading and reduces your chances of trading for a “limited-edition” patch that’s actually 1 of 50,000.

The process is simple. You open the app, scan the QR code on the back of a patch and wait for the patch’s stats to appear on screen.

Why is this app necessary? Because while we all know Scouts and Scouters are trustworthy, some odious outsiders see creating faux BSA memorabilia as a way to make a quick buck.

PatchScan (which I first told you about during the 2013 jamboree) is one of two tools the BSA’s Supply Group has in place to help you identify authentic products. The other is a hologram, like the one seen above, that tells you you’re holding an officially licensed product. Look for it on BSA merchandise including headwear, apparel, patches and more.

The BSA isn’t the first to use these shiny identifiers. Sports leagues, for example, have for years used holograms to signify authentic jerseys, hats and T-shirts.

PatchScan, meanwhile, has already been used more than 100,000 times by Scouts and Scouters looking for a leg up in the game of patch trading and collecting. QR codes will become mandatory on council shoulder patches, jamboree shoulder patches, OA lodge flaps and pocket patches, and sets of flaps or CSPs beginning in June 2014.

Learn more and see some screenshots after the jump.

Key Facts about PatchScan
  • Cost: Adding QR codes won’t increase the cost of most patches. The majority (84 percent) of the BSA’s licensees indicated they do not intend to raise the base price of patches to cover the minimal costs of adding these unique identifying codes.
  • QR code optional: The QR Code does not have to be applied to event patches such as those for camporees, Polar Bear, or similar events; however, the code may be applied to event patches at the council’s request, or at the licensee’s discretion.
  • QR code mandatory: BSA Licensees must affix QR code stickers to Jamboree Shoulder Patches, Council Shoulder Patches (including special CSPs, such as FOS, Eagle Scout, etc.), Order of the Arrow Lodge Flaps and pocket patch sets delivered to a customer on or after June 1, 2014.
  • No QR code? A patch without a QR code isn’t automatically fake. Authentic patches created before June 1, 2014, might have a hologram sticker or a BSA licensee logo in the backing.
  • 2013 Jamboree success: The PatchScan App was downloaded 6,250 times during the jamboree.
  • Number of scans: There have been 112,464 total scans of patches with 77,908 (69 percent) of those occurring during the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.
  • Why PatchScan exists: Supply says: “We believe the implementation of PatchScan supports the corporate directive and strategy to help ‘make Scouting cool,’ which does indirectly support membership growth and retention. With the majority of Scouting-aged youth using mobile technologies, it is imperative to incorporate such technologies into the everyday passions of Scouts — passions like patch collecting — to demonstrate the BSA’s understanding of the role technology plays in our culture today, and integrate such technology into the program where appropriate.”
  • How PatchScan helps BSA: Supply says: “It also supports the organizational strategy to protect and build the BSA brand. The PatchScan app helps youth understand the importance of brand, authenticity and the long-term value of protecting the organization’s intellectual property from infringement.”
PatchScan screenshots

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Related post: 2013 Jamboree Scouts show off their favorite patches


Special thanks to David Harkins with the Supply Group for the info

5 Comments on Get real: PatchScan app, official BSA hologram make it easy to see what’s legit

  1. G Peter Schmitt // February 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm // Reply

    With Patches in mind … Any recommendations for sourcing Custom Scouting Event Patches ?

    • Moritz Embroidery Works is one of the leading professional manufacturers of embroidered emblems (patches), neckerchiefs, and promotional products. The company is an official BSA licensee for manufacturing embroidered emblems and promotional products and is fully capable of manufacturing quality, custom patches that fit the needs (and budget) of any local council, district, OA lodge, summer camp, individual unit, and Scouting event.

      We work with the BSA National Licensing department to get all designs BSA-approved and include custom BSA PVC backing on all emblems and include PatchScan QR stickers and holographic stickers/tags where required to help protect the BSA brand and promote the Scouting program.

      Visit http://www.moritzembroidery.com, or call us (toll free) at 800-533-4183, for more information on the various products and services that we can offer Scouts.

  2. Simple solution. Only buy/wear those patches that you actually earned or those that directly impinge on your bailiwick. Otherwise, buy it if it’s cool. If it isn’t cool or you didn’t earn it, don’t buy it. No need for holograms, just have fun trading. If a patch is rare and you weren’t able to buy it when it was being sold for some reason, don’t sweat it. Life is like that sometimes, chalk it up to experience and move on. No solution needed for custom scouting event patches, because then they’d be the same as “real” patches, because you know, they are real patches.

  3. Ok so what about patches that are old enough not to have the hologram or the code? Still taking chances there right? I mean those are the ones that it would seem to me are the ones that are being falsified……….

  4. Charles Lenington // February 13, 2014 at 1:05 am // Reply

    great, dead links to patchscan

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