Bob Barchiesi

The IACC has partnered up with Europol and Underwriters Laboratories for the Europol IP Crime Conference, where collaboration is a key theme. Barney Dixon spoke to IACC president Bob Barchiesi to find out more

What are they key themes of this year’s Europol IP Crime Conference?

The conference will focus on innovative strategies, law enforcement practices and emerging trends in anti-counterfeiting. An international panel of leaders operating on the frontlines of law enforcement, private industry and academia will share best practices and emerging trends, and attendees will hear about specific case studies from countries such as China, Denmark, and Belgium.

The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) is excited to partner with Europol on this conference and we really want to spread a sense of collaboration. We believe in leveraging the resources, assets and expertise of other government agencies, non-governmental organisations and intermediaries to take a holistic approach, because we need wrap our arms around the counterfeiting problem.

Having Europol at the table has been fantastic and having the agency as a co-host for this conference signifies the level of collaboration that can be achieved. What we’re doing is putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I’ve travelled around the world signing agreements so that we can have the tools in place for a kind of self-help programme.

By working with intermediaries such as credit card companies and platform providers such as Alibaba Group, we can get merchant accounts shut down, prevent shipments of counterfeit goods from reaching their destinations, and connect the dots so that we can build cases against criminal networks and give law enforcement the basis for criminal investigations.

What will you focus on in your keynote address?

My keynote will focus largely on the theme of innovation. Counterfeiters are constantly evolving the way they operate, and we should too if we are to properly enforce the rights of brands around the world. The best innovation comes when multiple people and partners are involved. You never know where the next idea is going to come from, so we want as many people as possible to take part in that conversation.

The IACC believes this is the best way to develop innovative solutions to the counterfeiting problem. During my keynote, I’ll be providing examples of how effective voluntary collaboration between industries and organisations has produced some of the most innovative initiatives in anti-counterfeiting.

Before, the ideal scenario would be for Google to just delist anything counterfeit-related, but now—even in that ideal world—Facebook, Instagram and all these other means exist to drive customers to counterfeit websites. The preferred method is always voluntary cooperation, but if that doesn’t work, we work to convince politicians to strengthen laws and put pressure on other countries through international relationships. I have testified before the House judiciary committee on several occasions to do just that. We focus on global engagement, education and enforcement.

How important are partnerships with enforcement agencies and companies?

Voluntary partnerships are an integral part of the solution to the counterfeiting problem. The IACC has long believed in the power of partnerships, and our collaboration with Europol and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has been integral in sharing valuable information in anti-counterfeiting, training law enforcement officials from around the world, and bringing brands and other groups together to collaborate.

Our partnership with Europol and UL goes beyond the Europol IP Crime Conference. Currently, I sit on Europol’s IP Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3) stakeholder advisory group as a rights holder representative. In this role, the IACC can lend its support and share its global programmes, expertise and the voice of its members with the IPC3.

We partner with UL and hold conferences around the world to train law enforcement in brand protection. In addition to the Europol IP Crime Conference, we will be joining forces for the second Latin America Regional Brand Protection Summit next year. Our first summit was held in Miami last year. It attracted more than 200 attendees.

This unique event presented unparalleled and valuable networking opportunities for brands, other industry representatives and government officials from the US, Europe, and more than 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Collectively, these efforts will advance brand owner interests and protection around the world.

We have had an exciting and productive year that reinforces the IACC’s strategy of voluntary collaboration:

The MarketSafe Expansion Program was launched in April, and we had 100-plus brands apply to participate. These brands ranged from small- and medium-sized entities to global brands from more than 30 countries. This programme takes down an average of 13,000-plus counterfeit listings per month. We will begin accepting applications for participation in the programme’s second year in November 2017<

The IACC RogueBlock programme continues to be a success. Nearly 6,000 illicit merchant accounts have been terminated, and more than 200,000 websites affected. I also testified before the Italian parliamentary counterfeiting committee, which was interested in hearing about RogueBlock’s impact on fighting online counterfeiting. Through our partnership with the City of London Police, the Police IP Crime Unit (PIPCU) collaboration expands RogueBlock’s impact on counterfeiters by going after the websites themselves. As part of its partnership, PIPCU has agreed to consider each website submission from RogueBlock that falls within its jurisdiction, such as .uk domain names

The IACC Annual Spring Conference was attended by 400-plus people from 40 countries

We held law enforcement training in Argentina and Colombia, as well as Los Angeles, New Jersey and Maryland in the US. Upcoming events will take place in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, North Carolina, Los Angeles and San Francisco

We will co-host the Interpol 11th Annual International Law Enforcement IP Crime Conference in August in New York City

Since you joined the IACC, how far has the coalition come alongside the ever-changing counterfeit landscape? Has technology had an impact?

I think we’ve come a tremendous way. When I started we had three employees, now we have 15. We were known as the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, but when I became president, a lot of criticism was that we weren’t very international, that we were very US-centric.

But now, I’ve been all over the world and quite frankly, I’m outside of the US a lot more than I’m in the US. I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of members.

When I started we had around 120, now we have more than 250 members. We’re where the rubber meets the road—we get out there and are very operational in what we do.

I’ve been around a long time. I was a police chief and had a career in law enforcement. I was in the music industry, chasing cassettes, then CDs came out. I’ve been in law enforcement for a long time. Since then, the technology has just expanded so much.

We’re now watching 3D printing, crypto-currencies and other technologies that could be be a huge threat. Bitcoin, for example, can have some effect on the IACC RogueBlock programme. It’s really history repeating itself.

It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s tough to keep ahead, but what I’ve seen is that communication is the key.

The latest interviews from IPPro The Internet
The latest features from IPPro The Internet
Under recent amendments to Russian legislation, VPN service providers must block access to web resources that are banned in Russia, including piracy. If they refuse to cooperate, VPN services might themselves be blocked in Russia. Nikolay Leshkin, junior associate at Rouse, explains
The expected rise in counterfeiting as a result of 3D printing has yet to manifest, and as the technology’s positive effects become more clear, brands should look to take advantage of the opportunity
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Vladimir Biriulin of Gorodissky discusses the technical knowledge that the Russian IP Court has developed over its four-year tenure
With EU copyright reforms coming to a head, Barney Dixon speaks to Raegan MacDonald to see how the landscape has changed in recent months
Le Quang Vinh of Bross & Partners examines the substantive changes to criminal law in Vietnam that promise to rein in counterfeiting and piracy
As EU copyright reform continues, publishers are insisting the press publisher’s right will be good for business and won’t harm consumers. Angela Mills Wade of the European Publishers Council explains
ECTA’s copyright committee was formed in response to the modernisation of the EU’s approach to copyright. Chair Dr Christian Freudenberg tells Mark Dugdale what this has meant in practice
ECTA has ramped up its efforts to ensure that IP rights are heard in Brexit negotiations. But this isn’t all the trademark association has been up to in the past year, as Ruta Olmane explains
Country profiles
The latest country profiles from IPPro The Internet
While Indian fair use is not explicit, provisions exist for the fair dealing of copyright. Rohit Singh and Tina Canneth of Abu-Ghazeleh Intellectual Property delve deeper
An interpretation of the current events exception in Radosavljević is creative, say BDK Advokati's Bogdan Ivanišević and Marko Popović
IPPro Patents

Visit our sister site
for all the latest IP patents news and analysis
Yu-Li Tsai of Deep & Far examines how damages are calculated in patent infringement litigation
A recent amendment will make costly annulments a thing of the past. Gilberto Sanchez of SPECyF explains
New legislation in Turkey promises a swathe of trademark changes. Dr Cahit Suluk of Cahit Suluk Intellectual Property Law Firm explains
A trademark decision clarified ‘against the public order’ as an absolute ground for refusal. Sár and Partners – Danubia Patent & Law Office reports
Bogdan Ivanišević and Marko Popović of BDK Advokati review the recent squabble about copyright protection for ‘routinely created photos’
Alston & Bird recently expanded with a new office focusing on counselling Chinese companies on US intellectual property law. Yitai Hu explains what patent owners face when working across borders