Key control is the distribution and tracking of key copies. There are several levels of key control, the lowest level represents the more common unrestricted keys, brands such as kwikset, Schlage, Weiser, and Weslock make up the majority of these keys which are sold in countless retail outlets. There is no possible way to control the distribution of these types of keys. While it is possible to document who received a copy of a key, anyone in possession of one of these common keys can have a duplicate copy made and, in turn, give that copy to anyone of their choosing.
Do Not Duplicate (DND) keys are identical to the common unrestricted key blanks, the only difference is that the key is stamped with the words “Do Not Duplicate “. The duplication of these types of keys is done at the discretion of the individual performing the key cutting. There are no legal restrictions or consequences for making a copy of a DND key. DND keys can instill a false sense of security.
Restricted key blanks and Proprietary key blanks offer a greater degree of key control. These key blanks may or may not be patented (See below). Restricted keys are not available in common retail stores, but are sold through authorized locksmith dealers. Availability of a non patented restricted key are controlled by distributors or the manufacturer, and may be sold to multiple dealers. Proprietary keys are controlled by one distributor and are known as “National” keyways. These are sold exclusively through one locksmith dealer in a given local market. Before, making a duplicate of either one of these types of keys, the issuing locksmith will require proof that the customer is authorized to receive a copy.
Patented proprietary keys offer the highest level of key control. These types of keys are protected under utility patents and offer the greatest protection against unauthorized duplication. Any dealer who would violate the contractual provisions protecting the distribution of a patented key would be subject to severe civil penalties, and other legal actions.
Patented High Security locks and keys not only offer key control, but are made with the strongest materials and are engineered for greater tamper resistance. These keys are used by consumers who require key control and enhanced physical security.