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October 14, 2015Washington, DC, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

ICE, Michigan State University collaborate against counterfeiting

WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) head intellectual property rights enforcer presented a list of priorities and key enforcement efforts to representatives from industry and academia last week in Lansing, Michigan, during a keynote speech at the 2015 Brand Protection Strategy Summit hosted by Michigan State University’s Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP).

Bruce Foucart, director of the Homeland Security Investigations-led (HSI) National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), listed targeting counterfeit goods that threaten the health and safety of consumers and improving outreach with external law enforcement and the legal community as major efforts going forward.

“Counterfeit airbags can explode shrapnel-like debris at motorists during high-impact collisions and counterfeit pharmaceuticals have been found to contain arsenic, antifreeze or no active ingredient at all,” said Foucart. “It’s absolutely important that we continue to educate multiple audiences about the negative impacts of intellectual property theft.”

The conference brought together brand protection leaders from industry, academia and law enforcement to discuss ground-breaking research from world-renowned scholars, field-driven insight from globally-recognized organizations in both the private and public sector and current and emerging challenges and strategies in the area of intellectual property rights.

Participants learned and shared their expertise on multiple topics critical to intellectual property enforcement, including brand protection strategies in China; counterfeit measurement methodologies; advancing public-private partnerships; workforce training and education; and cyber security.

Michigan State and ICE established a unique collaborative partnership this summer when Foucart became a member of the A-CAPP Center Industry Advisory Board, and accepted a role with the anti-counterfeit organization as HSI’s official liaison, which A-CAPP Director Jeremy Wilson said has advanced both the science and practice of brand protection.

“Product counterfeiting is one of the most complex problems facing the global law-enforcement community,” Wilson said. “By working together with the IPR Center we are better positioned to increase awareness of the negative effects of product counterfeits and to design and implement research-based strategies to combat it.”  

The Michigan State University Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection is the first and only academic body focusing on the complex global issues of anti-counterfeiting and protection of all products and brands, across all industries, and in all markets. Linking industry, government, academic, and other stakeholders through interdisciplinary and translational research, education, and outreach, the A-CAPP Center serves as an international hub for the development and dissemination of evidence-based anti-counterfeit and brand protection strategy.

Founded in 2000, the IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The center uses the expertise of its 23 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.