The Importance of a GS1 Certificate

Each UPC (GTIN) should be attributed to a corresponding GS1 Certificate

Even though it is mandated by almost every major retailer and online marketplace around the globe, UPC (GTIN) identification is actually voluntary and not a legal requirement. The global GS1 standards agency is located in Belgium and is not associated with any specific local or national government authority. Trading partners rely on standardized and authentic GTIN identifiers for efficient supply chain processing and to act as the key to trusted product data.

In order to provide proof of authenticity, companies are always issued an official GS1 Certificate when they license a Company Prefix or individual GTINs. Since a UPC Company Prefix is the root that which GTINs are created from, retailers and online marketplaces rely on Company Prefix validation to ensure the accuracy and uniqueness of UPC GTINs entered into their systems.

Beginning in 2016, Amazon reworded their GTIN requirements and now explicitly mandates sellers that must use GTINs licensed to their brand. To validate compliance, Amazon relies on the Company Prefix tools and GS1 certificates. The image below illustrates how a GTIN lookup can yield information about specific item identification and also includes the actual current licensed GS1 Company Prefix Certificate. With this information, a trading partner can validate both product data and prefix authenticity.

Information accessed from

GS1 certificates can be accessed and downloaded from within a separate GS1 account management portal. However, the certificates cannot be publicly accessed or displayed in the management portal and our GS1 Barcode Service/Support clients are encouraged to download a current certificate every time they update their licensing.

A feature of the repository and portal is that GS1 certificates can be automatically associated with a company’s GTINs, if they are uploaded. As illustrated above, GTIN search results will display all brand-entered product data and a current GS1 Certificate. This functionality reduces communication with trading partners and the search portal can be accessed at any time to provide GTIN ownership validations.

Companies who are new to barcodes should visit Those companies who already have a licensed GS1 Company Prefix can access GS1 Barcode Support and access the global repository at

FAQ’s: The Necessity of GTIN Ownership Validation Is Necessary

If every UPC (GTIN) technically originates from GS1, why is ownership validation necessary?

There are two common types of “incorrect” GTINs. Some new users occasionally just make up 12-digit numbers without any understanding of the global standards. This actually occurs quite frequently. In many cases, someone who is trying to list a new product on a store or marketplace (i.e. Amazon) and is informed that another UPC already exists in their database for a different product. The ONLY way a company can protect itself is to illustrate its Company Prefix ownership through a GS1 Certificate.

The other form of an incorrect GTIN occurs when a company unknowingly purchases discounted UPCs from an online reseller. Although these companies make claims that their UPC (GTINs) originate from GS1, they do not convey their limitation for use by major retailers and marketplaces, including Amazon. Please click here to learn more.

What is the difference between discount UPCs online and UPCs from GS1?

Discounted UPCs using shared Company Prefixes may be used in a few limited situations (despite what might be stated on a reseller website). Trading partners cannot be assured of guaranteed uniqueness and the change duplication would be disastrous. In addition, there is no regulating body overseeing the reseller assignments so unsuspecting buyers can be purchasing numbers from someone in a dorm room with a professional-looking website.

By having a GS1 Company Prefix uniquely assigned to your company/brand, you can be assured that you will be able to sell your products around the globe. Every single retailer and online marketplace will accept your UPC barcodes if your company has a licensed GS1 Company Prefix. Many online marketplaces and retailers (i.e. Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, Kroger) validate their suppliers’ prefixes to ensure that the UPCs are licensed to the specific brand.

What are the legal ramifications from using GTINs not directly licensed from GS1?

The unauthorized UPC (GTIN) market immerged from poor legal contacts and a lack of governing regulation. To learn more about how UPC resellers originated and their limitations, please visit

Related : Overview

Comments are closed.

News & Updates

Brands We Work With

  • Amazon bar code
  • ECIA