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September 28, 2015Buenos Aires, ArgentinaIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

Counterfeiting continues to be concern for ICE

Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale's keynote address; IPR File Photos

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale urged a collaborative global response against criminal elements committing intellectual property (IP) theft during a keynote address delivered last week at the 2015 International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference.

Deputy Director Ragsdale and National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center Director Bruce Foucart participated in the two-day conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to address counterfeiting and intellectual property crime. This year’s theme was Future Threats 2020, Tools for Mitigating the Risk.

Leaders from law-enforcement agencies around the world attended the Interpol-led global meeting to discuss negative impacts of counterfeiting, emerging trends in IP theft and best practices to enforce trademark and copyright regulations.

"IP theft impacts everyday people in unconscionable ways," Deputy Director Ragsdale said. "Tragically, counterfeit goods have made their way into our food, medical and transportation industries. Now more than ever, there has to be a robust, comprehensive global united front against those who seek to profit at the expense of the safety and security of others."

Additional topics covered included health and safety risks associated with counterfeiting, pesticides and agriculture, online IP theft, illicit markets, anti-counterfeit technology and consumer education initiatives.

"What we’ve found is many people aren’t familiar with the actual dangers of counterfeit products," said Foucart during a panel with industry representatives. "My priority in both outreach and training and enforcement has been to emphasize the health and safety hazards associated with counterfeiting."

Industry officials from Underwriters Laboratories, Proctor and Gamble, Nestle, Unilever, Hewlett Packard and other companies participated in the conference to discuss their experiences with counterfeiting.

"The bottom line is no organization is more equipped to protect copyrights and trademarks, and no organization has the amount of intelligence on who is counterfeiting merchandise and where they’re located more than industry," said Foucart, who listed an enhanced relationship with industry as a priority.

Interagency collaboration between ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection in FY 2014 resulted in 683 arrests, 454 indictments and 461 convictions for IP theft-related crimes. Seizures of various counterfeit goods that threaten the health and safety of the American public also increased. Joint enforcement efforts led to the seizure of 216 automotive parts in FY14 worth an estimated $6.8 million, which represented an 83 percent increase over FY13.