In coordination with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Federal Customs Authority (FCA) will launch next week in Dubai the “IPM Mobile” application on smart phones to combat counterfeiting and piracy in order to help customs inspectors fight counterfeits by providing information via mobile phones.
“The program is launched on mobile phones as part of fulfilling the requirements of the smart government initiative announced last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai”, said Khalid Ali Al Bustani, Acting Director General of FCA.
“This initiative urges public institutions to provide all services to customers via mobile phones.”
H.H. the Vice President’s visit to the 2013 WCO IT Conference and Exhibition which was held in Dubai from 14-16 May 2013, had a great influence on the WCO’s choice of the UAE as the world’s first country to apply this program on mobiles, said the FCA’s Acting Director General.
“The IPM Mobile is a new tool that enables the customs sector, especially inspectors, to capitalize on modern technology and applications in the field of combating counterfeiting and piracy of products. Through IPM Mobile, customs inspectors will be able to distinguish between original and counterfeited commodities through a mobile-enabled database including different products worldwide. The database will always be renewable by the renowned international brands and can be used as a reference via phones when inspecting imports in customs outlets,” Al Bustani said.
Al Bustani also explained that the new program doubles the UAE’s efforts to combat piracy and counterfeited goods, which will in turn contribute to improving the State’s image and position in the field of intellectual property rights (IPR). In cooperation with the WCO, the FCA launched the IPM on PCs in the UAE on 11 April 2012
The new program contributes to achievement of the FCA’s strategic objectives of protecting the security of society, facilitating trade, and bolstering cooperation with other countries worldwide, Al Bustani said. The new tool also helps the FCA achieve its mission: developing the customs policies and legislations, developing programs and supervising their implementation, and participating effectively in combating fraud and smuggling, as well as supporting trade on an international level.
“The application revealed the great role of the program in enhancing the customs efficiency across the UAE’s outlets, and the strong interest shown by local customs departments in applying the program to PCs. This urged the FCA, in cooperation with the WCO, to launch it on mobile phones so as to facilitate the duties of inspectors on border outlets,” he said.
Al Bustani praised customs officials’ role on the local and federal levels in controlling fraud and counterfeiting, and protecting IPR. The GCC Unified Customs Law, he said, authorizes customs departments and units to exercise their monitoring and supervisory powers over trade movement, and the egress and ingress across the UAE and its territorial waters.
International institutions estimated the value of counterfeited goods in the Middle East at about USD11billion. These goods are produced by a third party and have a counterfeited trademark. Counterfeits grow in the region by 10% per year.
Suoud Salem AlAgroobi, Director of the International Relations at the FCA, said the launch of IPM Mobile is critical to combat counterfeiting, piracy and protecting IPR. The UAE will be the first country to apply the IPM program on mobile phones and it will contribute to developing the program before the official launch across the world in June 2014 on the sidelines of the WCO Customs Directors General meeting.
The WCO selected the UAE because the UAE’s Leadership is interested in improving services across the UAE, and adopting the best international practices in this field as part of the smart government initiative, in addition to the developed IT infrastructure and mobile services in the UAE, in a way that ensures applying ideas, programs and innovative mechanisms, AlAgroobi said.
The program details will be unveiled in a two-day workshop, to be held on 16-17 April 2014 in Dubai, in cooperation with the WCO and the private sector, with the participation of representatives from the local departments and the private sector companies, he said. Customs inspectors from local departments will be trained in this workshop to use the program and test original and counterfeited products based on information provided by the program, he said. In addition, the participation of right holders in this program is important as they continue to update information on their goods; this helps in keeping up to date with counterfeited goods.
Right holders can take part in the workshop on the 16th of April, 2014 which will be held in Dubai next week through registration at the WCO or the FCA, AlAgroobi said. The FCA is one of the most important institutions assigned to fulfill the IPR obligations in light of security and economic responsibilities and powers vested in it by virtue of the GCC Unified Customs Law, and the related local laws under the direct supervision on the entrance, exit and passage of goods via the customs outlets by sea, land and air.
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