The Brand Owner, the organisation that owns the specifications of the trade item regardless of where and by whom it is manufactured, is normally responsible for the allocation of the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). On joining a GS1 Member Organisation eg GS1 New Zealand the Brand Owner receives a unique GS1 Company Prefix which is for the sole use of the company to which it is assigned. The Company Prefix may not be sold, leased or given, in whole or in part, for use by any other company. The Brand Owner can therefore be:
- The manufacturer or supplier - the company manufactures the trade item or has it manufactured, in any country, and sells it under its own brand name;
- The importer or wholesaler - the importer or wholesaler has the trade item manufactured, in any country, and sells it under its own brand name or the importer or wholesaler changes the trade item (e.g. by modifying the packaging);
- The retailer - the retailer has the trade item manufactured, in any country, and sells it under its own brand.
There are certain exceptions to the above mentioned rule:
- Non-Branded Items - Items without a brand name, generic items not private labels, are still assigned GTINs by their manufacturers.
- Customer Specific Items - When a trade item is made specifically for one trade customer and is orderable only by this customer, it is permissible for a GTIN to be assigned by the customer.
- Other Exceptions - If the Brand Owner does not assign a GTIN, the importer or another intermediary can still assign an item a temporary GTIN. This may be used until a GTIN is assigned in the normal way.