How Business and Government Leaders Are Combatting Counterfeiters

Business leaders and government officials share their insights on the best modern anti-counterfeiting practices.


Air Date: July 12, 2022

Moderator: Tom Quaadman, Executive Vice President, Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Featured Guests: AnnMarie Highsmith, Executive Assistant Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Trade, Kasie Brill, Vice President of Brand Protection & Strategic Initiatives, Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Patrick Killbride, Senior Vice President, GIPC, Kebharu Smith, Director and AGC - Counterfeit Crimes Unit, Amazon, Anna Dalla Val, Director, Global Brand Relations, Amazon

In recent years, e-commerce has emerged as one of the main forms of retail and trade. With more and more products in the marketplace, counterfeiting has increased. Bad actors are counterfeiting popular products from Nike, Apple, and other major brands to make a quick profit from unsuspecting customers.

The U.S. government has increasingly partnered with these brands to tighten their anti-counterfeiting efforts. These measures include increased interdiction and prosecution, as well as consumer education initiatives.

The Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) recently hosted government officials and business leaders to discuss these practices and solutions at its event entitled “Combatting the Counterfeiter.”

Public-Private Partnerships Are Needed to Prevent Counterfeiting

The government plays a large role in helping the private sector in its anti-counterfeiting efforts. Government agencies know when shipments are arriving in the United States. Businesses have information on their products and can determine what is real and what is not. Each side can share data and collaborate with federal, state, and local law enforcement officers so they can move quickly and prevent counterfeit merchandise from ever getting made.

“We can't seize our way out of this problem,” said AnnMarie Highsmith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Trade. “We don't want to stop the merchandise from entering the commerce, we want to stop the merchandise from being made in the first place. We want to create enough deterrents because we don't want the stuff to come here at all or be made. We need cooperation.”

Brands Are Taking Significant Measures to Preserve Their Products

During the event, Amazon executives Kebharu Smith, Director and AGC of the Counterfeit Crimes Unit, and Anna Dalla Val, Director of Global Brand Relations, discussed the company’s recent efforts to curb counterfeiting. Not only is Amazon taking internal measures to stop counterfeiting, but it also works with its partners to educate and empower them to protect themselves.

“As of now, 700,000 brands we have enrolled they're either pending or registered trademarks, and Project Zero, which is our tool that allows brand owners to remove counterfeit listings directly, has also grown 3,000 more brands, for a total of 20,000 brands this year,” said Dalla Val. “We monitor 8 billion changes to the existing listings daily for signs of potential abuse. That has grown from 5 billion last year.”

The GIPC is Educating Consumers on Counterfeit Goods

Through these partnerships, the private and public sectors are making efforts to educate consumers on the dangers of counterfeiters, how to shop smart, and how to feel confident when making those purchases and decisions.

One such effort is the GIPC’s Shop Smart campaign, which educates Americans on how to recognize and avoid purchasing counterfeit goods. Programs like Shop Smart are designed not to make customers wary of their purchases but to be confident in making the right choices.

“You really don't want customers to be nervous about buying your product, but what we've been able to do is say 'yes, be aware, but here are some tools that you can use to be proactive, to be safe,’” said Patrick Killbride, Senior Vice President of GIPC. “We can’t forget, regardless of the challenges associated with the enormous, exponential increase in trade in small parcels, that those are bringing tremendous benefits to our economy, to our consumers, to our job creation and that we want to protect all of it and enable consumers to enjoy it.”

Current Anti-Counterfeiting Measures Are Working

Those involved with these anti-counterfeiting practices can take great pride in knowing that their work it's having an impact on halting counterfeit trade. Jim Mancuso, Director of the National IPR Center, announced the largest restitution of counterfeit goods in United States history occurred earlier in the year.

“The HSI and CVP reported a $1.8 billion restitution, which was ordered in the central district of California for a trade fraud investigation involving legal evasion of duties and imports,” said Mancuso.