00 What is the UPC – Universal Product Code?

Universal Product Code – Wikipedia

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a barcode from the EAN/UPC symbology. The term “UPC code” is often used in trade and linguistic usage, but the correct designation is now GTIN-12. A 12-digit number is encoded, which barcode scanners read optically without contact.

This barcode was introduced in the USA in 1973. Norman Joseph Woodland and George J. Laurer (1925-2019) played a key role in its development. The first patent dates back to 1952.

Difference between UPC and EAN

The EAN code is compatible with the Universal Product Code, but encodes one more character. Most retail chains now also accept the EAN-13 in the USA and Canada. Due to the different package sizes and languages, many internationally active companies in the consumer goods sector use the UPC-A barcode for North America, but the EAN-13 in the rest of the world.