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SETSC provides an additional force multiplier for its membership through its affiliation with an international network of similar cargo theſt groups. Tis essentially globalises the organisation and provides a vehicle in which law enforcement agencies can share intelligence and case evidence to break up international organised crime syndicates. Tis same information can be shared among the corporate members with their consent. “Te best thing about SETSC,” says organisation president Jim Phillips, “is that there are no competing agendas. It’s all about what’s best for the industry as a whole.”

banks use for their Internet transactions. Aſter being fully vetted, law enforcement officers are given complimentary access to the site, enabling them to obtain information on a real-time basis from any location via the Internet.

Te public section of the website serves as a hub for interested parties to exchange information,

educational material, news and

alerts relating to intellectual property rights. Te site administrator co-ordinates with brand owners to upload training materials, introduce and promote the service to fully vetted law enforcement personnel, and maintain the security of the site and its contents.


Despite being less than a year old, the IPR Center™ has rapidly expanded its worldwide

reach by building relationships with

customs organisations and NGOs that are focused on health and safety or IPR issues. Te site is currently being used by law enforcement agencies on four continents, representing local, state/province and federal jurisdictions.

Brand owners now have the ability to

immediately reach thousands of law enforcement officers focused on IPR and healthcare crimes by simply uploading their training materials to their respective database pages. Tere is no limit to the information that can be uploaded and any inquiries from law enforcement agencies go directly to the brand owner for follow-up. Registered law enforcement

officers IPR Center™

One of the biggest challenges law enforcement faces in the battle against counterfeits is the ability to identify illicit product. But it goes deeper than that. In addition to not having the information necessary to legally authenticate a product, most don’t even have adequate information to determine whether an offer to sell or a shipment is suspicious. Tis can oſten be as simple as understanding the approved ports of entry or the brands that are popular in an area.

Te IPR Center™ ( is a new non-profit organisation dedicated to providing law enforcement and customs agents worldwide with the timely information they need to stop illicit product sales in their jurisdictions. Te centrepiece of this organisation is a web-based platform used exclusively by law enforcement officers to view product updates, advisories, training materials and contact information provided by the participating brand owners. All confidential information is housed on the secure, encrypted Law Enforcement Authentication Database (LEAD), which was built on the same e-commerce framework that multinational


emails notifying them when updates and product alerts are posted so that they can keep up-to-date on urgent product issues. Each time a new brand owner joins, they are encouraged to introduce their personal law enforcement contacts to the site. Tis is a win-win for everyone, as the law enforcement officers gain access to additional product information and the brand owners broaden their base of police contacts.

At present, the site is free for brand owners, which is truly remarkable given the value it adds to their programmes. In addition to ensuring that law enforcement always has access to the most current and accurate information, brand owners can save thousands of dollars each year on the time, printing costs and travel associated with in-person training.

Building relationships

A symbiotic relationship between the brand owner and law enforcement is necessary to effectively have an impact on the distribution and sale of illicit healthcare products around the world. Resources such as SETSC and the IPR Center are vital tools in building this connectivity and delivering the information

28 Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review 2011

necessary for law enforcement to act. However, they stop short of providing all that is required. Te other piece of the equation is the brand owner’s ability to build and operate a brand protection programme that can deliver end- to-end law enforcement support wherever an issue may arise. Tis includes conducting much of the intelligence-gathering, investigation and document preparation on a case before asking law enforcement to act. Without this support, most police agencies simply lack the scope to undertake brand protection cases. Conversely, very few will walk away from good cases that are professionally presented for enforcement.

Tis can be a tall order for many companies. Most companies lack the personnel, contacts and resources necessary to provide these services in any jurisdiction around the world. Tis is where organisations such as PICA Corporation can be useful. PICA has

spent the past 29

years developing close relationships with law enforcement in more than 125 countries around the world. With thousands of experienced consultants on the ground in more than 300 cities, PICA already has the infrastructure in place to be an effective bridge between the brand owner and the local law enforcement agency. Tis may not be required in every instance, but the ability to pull that type of support structure off the shelf gives both the brand owner and law enforcement the support they need to ensure the problem is tackled at the operative level.

Vaughn Volpi is chief strategy officer at PICA Corporation. He can be contacted at:

Vaughn Volpi



graduate of Miami

University and has served as co-chairman of the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition’s Investigators Committee. He joined PICA in 1989, becoming its president in 1996. Volpi’s areas of expertise include all aspects of intellectual property investigations, and he has personally developed, supervised and executed thousands of brand protection projects around the world.

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