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What is the difference between an Unassigned and Assigned Countermark?

Assigning data and criteria to an Unassigned Countermark generated by an Issuer, will produce an Assigned Countermark.  It is important to note that once an Unassigned Countermark has been assigned it cannot be re-assigned.

An Unassigned Countermark is a Countermark which has been generated but has basic attributes only defined by the Issuer at this stage:

  • Reference String
  • Branded Text Selection
  • Font Type
  • Dot Colour


An Assigned Countermark is an Unassigned Countermark which has had the following attributes defined by the Issuer at a later stage:

  • Image Data
  • Read Restrictions (Public/Private)
  • Geo-Locked Information
  • Time Locked Information


How do I set up the Countermark Application on my phone?

The latest released version of the Countermark Application can be found on either the Apple Store for iPhone users or on the Google Play Store for Android users.


Once the application has been downloaded, the phone user will need to follow the steps below to set their email preferences and permissions before they can read a Countermark.

  • Read the information screens to understand how to hold the phone correctly when using the application.
  • Read the information screen about how permissions are used whilst using the application.
  • Accept the requests to access the phone location and phone data where indicated when using the application.
  • Enter an email address to be associated with the User’s phone.
  • Open the sample Countermark document from the Countermark for Documents website, hold the phone over the sample Countermark image and let the phone scan the image to activate the application.
  • A successful read should be returned, this will trigger the Registration reminder email.
  • Exit the Application.
  • A new Icon will appear on the phone screen.


The Phone User will receive a Registration reminder email, for which they need to click on the ‘Confirm Email Address’ link to be redirected to Countermark for Documents Update your Preferences page.  This page is needed for GDPR compliance.  The Phone User now needs to confirm their adult status and verification options by ticking the relevant boxes before clicking the ‘Confirm’ box.


How do I reset my password?

Each website has its own password reset link:


  • The Countermark Shop Site ( – Go to the ‘My Shop Account’ button, use the ‘Lost Your Password?’ link.


  • The Countermark for Documents Site ( – Go to the ‘Login’ tab, use the ‘Forgot Password or Account Number?’ link.



In both instances, a Password Reset Request email will be sent to the email address entered.  The Individual or Issuer can then confirm the request via the request link within the email and reset the password.

What’s the difference between Global and Geo-Locked?

When an Issuer makes a Countermark, the read limit area and distance for the Countermark can be set as follows:


  • Global:  Countermark with no specified reading geography – A Global Countermark can be read at any location and by a phone with the “Location” setting disabled.


  • Geo-Locked:  Countermark with a specified reading geography (for example London + 35km radius) –  A Geo-Locked Countermark is read by enabling the “Location” setting on the phone. The phone must also be in the specified area that the Issuer has set for the Countermark.



What’s the difference between Public, Private and Registered?

Public, Private and Registered Countermarks have different access levels:


  • Public:  All Countermark Users can read a Public Countermark. A typical use for Public Countermarks is marketing or free data for use in the public domain.


  • Private:  Only a specified Group of Users can read a Private Countermark. These Users are typically specialists that must have access to protected data.


  • Registered:  A User can only read a Registered Countermark if they have enabled their phone location and allocated an email to the phone.


How do I add a User to a Group and edit Group membership details?

The User and Group dialogs have dedicated edit functions that permit the Issuer to add or view details and delete or change both individual User and Group membership details. The dialogs have tooltips with text callouts which explain terms and permitted actions.

  • User: Edit Dialog


  • Group: Edit Dialog


How do I add a Countermark code to my document?

The Issuer opens the web-based Countermark interface, removes (‘Cuts’) sensitive data from the document and then generates a Countermark, replacing (‘Paste’) the data with the Countermark code. The Issuer can then set Group and security access.

What’s the difference between an Issuer, a Group and a User?

There are three types of personnel associated with Countermarks.


  • Issuer:  An individual who uses the Countermark website to make (issue) Countermarks and inserts them into documents. The Issuer also has the access rights to create Users and Groups and set the Countermark’s access rules.


  • Group:  An Issuer collects a number of users into a Group to share access to a Private Countermark.


  • User:  An individual with a phone who is permitted to read a Countermark.
    • A ‘Public’ User can read a Countermark at all locations without access limits.
    • A ‘Private’ User is allocated to a specified Group authorised to read a Countermark on authorised phones.
    • A ‘Registered‘ User can only read a Countermark on a phone that has its location enabled and email confirmed.


What types of data can I Countermark?

Countermark for Documents lets you annotate, validate or protect all types of documentation.

A Countermark can show selections of visual and printed data to send to a phone. The image of the Countermark code is in .png format which can be added to Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat and many other types of document.  Using the Countermark App you can restrict where, when and who can read the Countermark.


When you add a Countermark code to a document, the Countermark operates like a hyperlink and adds data that is not apparent on the document. Examples include:

  • Title blocks on drawings or sensitive data on specifications
  • Audio clips on exhibition signage
  • Links to social media on garment tags
  • Links to YouTube or Amazon shops on concert tickets


Future Countermark releases will include video and acoustic files.

How do Countermarks Work on Documents?

Countermark for Documents lets you annotate, validate or protect all types of documentation.

A web interface is used to upload the data you want a User to see on their phone when they read a Countermark.  This can be an Image, a URL or a PDF file:



In its basic form, all Countermark Users can read the Countermark data to validate documentation and detect forgeries.

You can, however, also remove (‘Cut’) sensitive data from a document and replace that data with a Countermark code (‘Paste’). The original data is held in a secure database and is only made available to Countermark Users on a ‘need to know’ basis.

The Issuer can then specify the read limits possible. These are independent of each other and include:

  • Public / Private / Registered.
  • Global / Geo-Locked.
  • Time-Locked.


The format of the Countermark can be selected to include:

  • Font Type – Latin, Cyrillic, Katakana or Chinese.
  • Top Row Text – 1st 4 characters of the Top Row can be selected (as long as not already registered to another Issuer).
  • Black dots on white background – best for paper.
  • White dots on a black background – best for computer screens.
  • The size of the Countermark (either standard or matched to the image uploaded (Image option only)).

What is a Countermark?

A Countermark comprises a 32-character alpha-numeric string which is easy-to-read with software and the human eye:

A dedicated mobile phone App, with links to the Countermark server, is used to read the Countermark and return the original data to the User. The Countermark fonts are optimised for machine reading.  The fonts are registered designs and the name Countermark and the Countermark key symbol are registered trademarks. International patents protect the Countermark reading algorithms.

The data returned to the Users can be a PDF file, a link to a web page or a static image which can contain words and pictures or both. In the future, the ability to send audio, video and links to social media to the User’s phone will be added.

You can print Countermarks in Latin, Cyrillic, Katakana and Chinese fonts:

What is a Time-Locked Countermark?

When the Issuer makes a Countermark, the time for which it is readable is set for the Countermark, making it ‘Time-Locked’.

The Issuer can set the read period in days, weeks, months or years.  When the read period expires, the User can no longer access the Countermark data.


What does the Countemark Log show?

The Countermark Log shows how many times each Countermark has been read, when and where it was read and, subject to consent, who has read it.

The Issuer can enter search criteria to locate a specific Countermark.  The Issuer can select:


  • View Data– to view the read data of the selected Countermark.


  • View Image– to view the image data of the selected Countermark read.



How do I become a Countermark Issuer?

To become a Countermark Issuer, buy a subscription from our web shop or sign up for a Free Trial.

Contact (+44) 02392 265 109 or email


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