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October 24, 2018Washington, DC, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

ICE emphasizes social media in fight against counterfeiting

WASHINGTON – Law-enforcement agencies across the U.S. government and anti-counterfeiting organizations from academia and industry gathered today to discuss how social media can be effectively used to protect intellectual property rights and combat the flow of counterfeit goods that threaten the health and safety of American consumers, negatively impact the nation’s economy and fund criminal organizations involved in violent crimes.

Intellectual property enforcement representatives met at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Arlington, Virginia, for the 2018 IPR Center Symposium: Leveraging the Influence of Social Media. ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations hosted the event, which included participation from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI and Arlington County Police Department.

Stakeholders from Michigan State University, National Crime Prevention Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, International Trademark Association and other non-governmental associations presented and had key roles during the event. This was the IPR Center’s second symposium this year, following an April event that recognized World IP Day and celebrated the agency’s tenth anniversary.

“Social media is pervasive in our society, and for many age groups has become the “go-to” source for news, information and even education,” said HSI Deputy Executive Associate Director Alysa D. Erichs. “Both government and the private sector can better use social media platforms to inform and educate consumers, and assist in the fight against IP crimes.”

Subject matter experts in the IPR sector provided remarks and participated in panels that addressed social media and online strategies for attendees. Key discussion topics included:

  • The Power of Social Networks
  • Using Social Media as a Public Education Tool
  • How to Identify Your Target Audience on Social Media
  • Strategizing and Tactical Approaches for Brand Building and Effective Messaging

Deputy EAD Erichs acknowledged Alex Khu, recently named as IPR Center director, for his leadership that helped clear the way for the establishment of the Global Trade Investigations Division, HSI’s e-commerce strategy, and other major efforts that maintain intellectual property rights and trade law enforcement among the agency’s highest priorities.

Intellectual property enforcement initiatives developed by the IPR Center include major participation from HSI, CBP, Food and Drug Administration, military law-enforcement agencies and international authorities. In fiscal year 2017, HSI arrested 457 individuals, obtained 288 indictments and received 242 convictions related to support of IP enforcement operations. Additionally, combined efforts between ICE and CBP led to 34,143 IPR seizures with a value of $1.38 billion.

The IPR Center – formally codified in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 – stands at the forefront of the U.S. government's response to global IP theft and enforcement of its international trade laws. The agency brings together 23 partner agencies, consisting of 19 key federal agencies, INTERPOL, Europol and the governments of Canada and Mexico in a task-force setting. The task force structure enables the IPR Center to effectively leverage the resources, skills, and authorities of each partner and provides a comprehensive response to IP theft.

Updated: 10/24/2018