It appears that the consumer products industry has learned its lesson when it comes to creating technology standards: Make them global. With some exceptions, it's been a long time coming. Thirty years ago, when standards for bar codes were created, two parallel systems came into being. One, overseen by the Uniform Code Council, was the 12-digit UPC (Universal Product Code), a misnomer since it applied only to North America. The other, an eight- and 13-digit data structure overseen by EAN ...

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