Counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes worldwide. It threatens the economies of developed and developing countries alike, damages new investment, and increasingly endangers public health and safety. Advances in technology have enabled counterfeiters to produce better copies of products and packaging. Today, a huge range of items are counterfeited, including clothing, jewellery, movies, pharmaceuticals, car parts, perfume and agrochemicals.
The Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB), which formed in 1985 as a specialised bureau within CCS, protects industry from the damage caused by counterfeiting by gathering intelligence, carrying out covert investigations and providing expert advice and training. CIB is a not for profit membership organisation comprising members from numerous countries and sectors, which include the following:
- Large multinational companies
- Trade associations
- Law firms
- Technology producers
- Investigative firms
The CIB was the first international business initiative to go beyond political lobbying with practical prevention and enforcement support for industry, police and customs authorities. It has become a valuable tool in the campaign against the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit goods.
Since its inception, the CIB has undertaken over 600 investigations in more than 35 countries into counterfeit products ranging from luxury jewellery and furniture to alcoholic beverages and pharmaceuticals. The CIB protects industry from the damage done by international counterfeiting by gathering intelligence, carrying out covert investigations and providing expert advice and training. The CIB is recognised by the British Home Office as a bona fide agency and through the CCS has a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and INTERPOL.
The massive growth of the internet has opened up new marketing and distribution channels for counterfeit goods, primarily produced in developing countries. Responding to this threat, CIB set up an internet investigations team.
This team of experienced internet investigators collect a full intelligence picture of each website investigated. All CIB investigators are trained on covert internet intelligence techniques and this human-based approach allows an in-depth look not just at the website in question but the whole network being operated by the counterfeiters, which computer algorithms and robots can miss. Collecting this full intelligence picture before the website is closed is important as it allows the counterfeiters to be traced if they go on to run additional websites. To find out more click here.
Over the years, the CIB has designed, instigated and managed a number of initiatives that seek out counterfeiters, protect people and products, help to ensure brand security and publicise the illicit trade. CIB has developed the innovative Counterfeiting Seizure Maps, the Live Seizure report, the News Archive and the Case Study Database. CIB also works in partnership with the ICC initiative Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) to further increase awareness of the problem of counterfeiting and piracy.