The World Customs Organization (WCO) was host to the 7th Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy, held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 24-26 April.

On this occasion, the WCO introduced the new mobile version of the Interface Public-Members (IPM), its online tool serving as an interface between frontline Customs officers and the private sector.

IPM is a tool enabling rights holders faced with counterfeiting of their brands, to exchange information with field Customs officers. The new version of IPM presented in Istanbul integrates two major technical developments: a mobile version and the possibility to interface IPM with authentication and/or traceability solutions companies.

All participants present at the Congress agreed that faced with the complex and growing phenomenon that is counterfeiting, global action is necessary. In this view, the WCO took advantage of the Global Congress to launch IPM Connected, a global network of track-and-trace and authentication solutions interfaced with IPM, making them available to field Customs officers around the world.

One of the first authentication solutions company to join IPM Connected is AlpVision, a world leader in digital solutions for product authentication. Rights holders who use IPM will, if they wish, provide Customs officers with AlpVision’s instant authentication application available on standard smartphones.

This collaboration harnesses WCO’s operational power and AlpVision’s technological expertise: Custom officers simply scan the barcode and if the product is secured by AlpVision, IPM automatically launches AlpVision’s application, allowing them to instantly verify the authenticity of the product.

"AlpVision is extremely honored to be the first automated authentication solution available to more than 40,000 Customs officers around the world," said Dr Fred Jordan, CEO and co-founder of AlpVision. "We believe our joint collaboration will help facilitate the authentication of products, lowering the risk of human error and increasing the identification of counterfeit goods at the border."

"Providing Customs officers with the best available technologies to combat counterfeiting is at the core of the WCO’s strategy. Connecting IPM to existing authentication and traceability solutions is a major leap forward, which will enable Customs officers to assess more effectively whether or not a product is genuine," said secretary-general Kunio Mikuriya.

The WCO encourages all databases, sources of information, authentication or traceability solutions, which could help Customs officers in their fight against counterfeiting to interface with IPM and become IPM Connected.