What is GS1?
GS1 is the largest barcode supplier in the world. They are a membership organisation, which means you apply to join them. Then once the membership process has been completed, you can use their system to generate barcodes for your product. As a membership organisation, GS1 charges an annual rental fee for barcodes. While different GS1 branches have different barcode distribution models, typically, members are entitled to generate thousands or even tens of thousands of barcodes. Very large companies may find this quantity useful, but most small and medium-sized companies do not.
Barcode1 Ireland sells barcodes for a one-off cost. Many Irish companies and entrepreneurs choose to source their barcodes from us. Whether you need one barcode or 1,000, we can supply them to your email inbox within 5 minutes of purchase. If you are interested in buying barcodes, you can Buy Here.
If you are unsure about the process of getting and using barcodes, Contact us and tell us your situation. We will do our best to advise you on how best to get your products barcoded and into shops worldwide as quickly and efficiently as possible.
A common question about barcodes
We recently received this question from Paul – “We need max 15 barcodes per annum and currently have a GS1 licence. However, I want to explore sourcing them from 3rd parties. Essentially, my main concern is the legal aspect. To go this route, it must be 100% legal, not a grey area or a legal technicality. Can you confirm what the status is on this?”
Our answer was
“Hi, Paul. Thanks for your email. We can supply alternative retail barcode numbers for you. These are definitely legal and not a grey area or technicality. When we first started this business, I met with a CEO from GS1. He readily admitted that what we were doing was completely legal. He also wasn’t happy with it, as GS1 doesn’t want the competition. If what we are doing is illegal, then GS1 would have a monopoly, which is illegal in modern countries.
Here is some background to the numbers we sell.
In the 1990s, GS1 was established in most parts of the world, licensing their 13-digit barcode numbers to their members. However, a separate organisation in the USA called the United Code Council (UCC) sold 12-digit barcode numbers outright to their members without ongoing license fees. The UCC was effectively competing with GS1. Their 12 digits numbers are effectively a subset of the 13-digit system.
They have never been used on a retail product.
In the late 1990s, the UCC merged with GS1, becoming GS1-US. As part of this change, they decided to start charging annual license fees for all of their members, including those who had paid a one-off fee for barcode numbers in the 1990s. Of course, many of these members weren’t happy with the new annual license fees, and so a group of them ended up in court action with GS1. The members won in the courts in the early 2000s, resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement by GS1. A further consequence of this court case is proof that the original numbers issued by the UCC in the 1990s are outside of GS1s control now, and hence no license fees are required. These are the numbers we buy in bulk and onsell. They are ‘new’ numbers in that they have never been used on a retail product.
I hope this clarifies things. Please let us know if you have any further questions.”
“Thank You so much for your INCREDIBLY fast service!!!” Carolina
“Just letting you know that I received the Barcodes today. Thank you again for your attentive service.” Russell
“Thank you for your encouragement and prompt reply. We have a meeting at the end of this week which will establish how many barcodes we will require so I shall contact you as soon as I have further confirmation. This is not as complicated now as I first thought……….thankyou!” Beverly