Czech firm develops app to clampdown on counterfeits

Photo: archive of TelPro

Czech development company TelPro has come up with a new cloud software application that helps uncover counterfeit goods. The so-called Authentizer application for mobile phones is already being used by several producers of alcoholic drinks.

Photo: archive of TelPro
The development of the application has cost around 10 million crowns. The company based in Mladá Boleslav received three million crowns in EU funds. According to the developers the safety elements are more effective than a hologram, another possibility for tackling the pirate goods problem.

Trial runs of the uthentizer, which enables producers to protect their products and makes it possible for consumers to check the products’ origin, was launched in March this year. One of the first companies that decided to use the app was the Czech knife maker Mikov, whose trademark fish-shaped penknives are frequently the subjects of counterfeit production.

The Authentizer mobile phone app is based on the principle of two labels with so-called QR codes. The consumer uses a smartphone to scan the external QR code on a label, which is placed visibly on the product and sends it to the company’s website to check its origin before actually making the purchase.

According to the developers, however, this method is not completely reliable in determining the origin of the product. To be 100 percent sure, the consumer has to send in the hidden code, which can only be revealed after the product is purchased. After sending in the combination of the visible and the hidden codes, the system marks the combination so that they can’t be used again.

The application was originally developed for checking alcohol stamps following the Czech methanol affair in 2012, during which nearly 50 people died after drinking deadly bootleg alcohol. Later they extended the use of the application to all products that can be marked with QR codes labels.

According to TelPro’s director Petr Lávička, the company would like to sign a contract with at least five to 10 larger Czech producers before trying to expand beyond the Czech Republic’s borders.