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U.S. Pilot Tests Mobile Tool to Help Distinguish Between Genuine and Counterfeit Goods

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

According to the World Customs Organization, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, and the National IPR Center successfully conducted in March a pilot test of the mobile version of IPM (Interface Public-Members), a communication and training tool designed to help law enforcement officers distinguish between genuine and counterfeit goods.

The WCO states that IPM enables intellectual property rights holders faced with counterfeiting of their brands to exchange information with field customs officers in real time. Using a mobile device, field officers can instantly verify a product’s authenticity by scanning the barcode or any track and trace solution and IPM will automatically launch the authentication application. The WCO is encouraging all databases, sources of information, and authentication or traceability solutions that could help customs officers in this way to interface with IPM and become IPM Connected.

In the U.S., testing was conducted in field offices in Los Angeles, Newark, Miami, Dallas and Houston over a three-week period. A total of 63 special agents used the tool daily, both inside and outside ports of entry, and more than 1,000 different searches were registered. WCO officials said they are reviewing feedback from customs officers and will take their ideas and recommendations into account before releasing the final IPM mobile tool. The WCO expects global deployment of both the mobile and web IPM applications before the end of June.

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