EAN-13 was implemented by the International Article Numbering Association (EAN) in Europe, based upon the UPC-A standard. EAN-13 is a superset of UPC-A. The only difference between EAN-13 and UPC-A is that the number system code in UPC-A is a single digit from 0 through 9 whereas an EAN-13 number system code content of two digits ranging from 00 through 99, which is essentially a country code. Sample of an EAN-13 Barcode The value to encode by EAN-13 has the following structure: 2 or 3 digits for Number System or Country Code 5 or 4 digits for Manufacturer (Company) Code or prefix 5 digits for Product Code 1 digit for checksum Each country has a numbering authority which assigns manufacturer codes to companies within its jurisdiction.
Add-On or Supplement code The Add-On Symbols were designed to encode information supplementary to that in the main bar code symbol on periodicals and paperback books. The Add-On can be composed of 2 or 5 digits only. Sample of an EAN-13 Five-Digit Add-On Barcode Light Margin Indicators - a greater than (>) and/or less than (<) character - are intended to protected the essential light areas to the left and right of the code that the barcode scanner needs to recognize the beginning and end.
The symbol encodes 13 characters: the first two or three are a country code which identify the country in which the manufacturer is registered (not necessarily where the product is actually made). The country code is followed by 9 or 10 data digits (depending on the length of the country code) and a single digit checksum. 2-digit and 5-digit supplemental barcodes may be added for a total of 14 or 17 data digits.