The Hologram Image Register (HIR) is a secure registry of holographic images, established by the IHMA to safeguard hologram copyright and underpin the use of holograms in authentication and security printing.
In addition to registering the holograms they produce, IHMA members search the HIR before making a new hologram to help to prevent the accidental copying of an image.
To date, the HIR has helped to uncover and prevent several cases of attempted counterfeiting and many specifiers and users of secure holograms require these to be registered on the HIR.
Also, the IHMA allows approved non-members to register holograms in the HIR, which follows an agreement from Intergraf and NASPO (the North American Security Products Organization).
Compliance with ISO 14298 Standard
To comply with their implementation of the certification for ISO’s new 14298 standard (which covers management of security print and security foil production), hologram producers must register all security holograms they produce in a global registry, which is the purpose of the IHMA’s HIR.
About the HIR
There are two parts to the HIR:
Searching the HIR gives the producer the assurance that a planned hologram is an available design not in use by another organisation.
- Searching is the method used to identify suspicious attempts to get a hologram copied. It results in notification that there is, or is not, a closely matching image registered.
- If a match is revealed, procedures are implemented to ensure it is a legitimate copy, and if not, to identify the attempted fraudsters.
- Only IHMA members and other authorised parties, including law enforcement agencies, may request a search.
The IHMA recommends that its members search the HIR at the time the hologram is being designed and originated.
This helps to ensure that the hologram image is not already in use and is the first step for the subsequent registration of the image.
Once an IHMA member registers a completed hologram with the HIR, they receive a certificate of registration.
- This certificate is suitable for transmission to the end user of the hologram and bears a unique registration number.
- Only members of the IHMA can register the holograms they originate or manufacture. Customers who want maximum protection should therefore choose a supplier which is a member of the IHMA.
- Registering a hologram on the HIR establishes a record of who makes the hologram, when it was first made and who is using it. Therefore registration benefits the holder of the copyright in the hologram as well as the hologram user.
- If there is an attempt to fraudulently copy the hologram this will be identified through searching the Register.
The IHMA has established procedures to distinguish between legitimate second sourcing and fraud attempts. This protects hologram users and benefits producers.
The IHMA urges that users should require that their supplier register their holograms.
New Image Register
The IHMA has been working with the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB) to update and improve the Hologram Image Register (HIR).
Established in 1993, this is one of the first projects undertaken by the IHMA, and has been referred to as the Association’s ‘Crown Jewels’, as it is the only global register of any security or authentication product.
For its 21 years it has enabled IHMA members to register their hologram images, so that other producers or intermediaries can check against the Register that they are not reproducing an existing hologram when they make a new design.
The HIR is also available to law enforcement agencies to check for the provenance of a design when they need information on a suspect hologram. The HIR has helped to prevent numerous attempts to source copy holograms, and has also helped to confirm that a suspect hologram was, indeed, a fake, which in turn has led to arrests and prosecution of the counterfeiters.
The HIR system has been updated to make it easier for IHMA members to enter the information about each hologram that is held on the Register, to check the status of new registrations and to see and review all their registered holograms.
All this will be implemented while maintaining the absolute security of the system (the database itself will be isolated from the internet) and the confidentiality of information stored.
Only the registering company and the CIB (which is part of the Commercial Crime Services division of the International Chamber of Commerce) will have access to each record – it will continue to not be viewable by any IHMA member or officer.
We frequently receive customer inquiries who want to confirm our membership in the IHMA and to confirm we will register their image in the IHMA’s Hologram Image Registry. The customers see a value in having their custom images registered globally.
The new on-line system requires much more information and while initially this was daunting and took a little extra time, once a routine was established it is in fact easier to complete and is more logical. Also, the amount of information required does provide us with a greater degree of confidence that once registered, the CIB can more easily check for counterfeits or inadvertent copies, and that’s an important value for us.
The HIR is operated for the IHMA by the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, a division of the International Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation accredited by the UN.
The Register is operated in absolute confidence by the CIB. Neither IHMA members nor staff have access to the Register, thereby ensuring that commercial information is not compromised.
The CIB is based in secure premises in London, UK.
The Hologram Image Register Manual
This guide gives full details on the use of the HIR. It is only available to IHMA members and authorised organisations.
To request your copy, contact the Secretariat