The 4 E’s: Enforcement
Both civil and criminal prosecution of counterfeiters requires an ongoing partnership between private industry and public law enforcement agencies. Indeed, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center acknowledges that vetting and adding value to investigations initiated by private industry is one of its core duties. The IPR Center also boasts its “productive partnerships with public and private sectors” (See, e.g., https://www.ice.gov/iprcenter). Local and state law enforcement (who often have less experience with counterfeiting than their federal counterparts) also rely heavily on private investigators.
While the government’s willingness to work directly with private brands is a critical step in cracking down on counterfeiters, it only works if companies bring agencies competent intelligence to work from. Information that is incomplete, illegally obtained, or not properly documented can harm a government investigation more than it helps.
Often, brands may be tempted to turn to law enforcement agencies before hiring private investigators. Understandably, they believe that because public law enforcement services are “free,” this strategy will yield a more cost-efficient result for shareholders. While it is true that public agencies don’t charge for investigations, they can’t take on every case and simply don’t have time or resources to chase every suspicion. This actually makes the role of the private investigator more critical. To the extent you can bring officers a comprehensive, evidence-based case, they are more likely to pursue a criminal investigation.
Thus, “Enforcement” is the third reason why brands should choose IP Investigators as anti-counterfeiting partners. At Vaudra, our team is trained to “walk the walk and talk the talk” when it comes to working with law enforcement. Through the years, we’ve maintained relationships with scores of local, state, and federal officers.
When it comes time to execute seizures or arrests, we have the appropriate evidence gathered and organized for easy comprehension by the relevant agency. We’re prepared to answer their questions, share additional intelligence they may need to execute a take-down, and stand ready to assist in these operations to any extent necessary.