- Thursday, 15 November 2012 11:36
The ICC Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB) is urging a radical change in strategic thinking when it comes to tackling the huge growth in websites selling counterfeit goods.
CIB argues that key to combating the problem is an understanding of its magnitude. For example a recent CIB investigation, undertaken on behalf of a member, into a single website selling counterfeit products uncovered links to more than 2000 websites selling fake versions of products by over 80 brand holders.
The central issue is the ease with which counterfeiters can set up batches of websites with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) at the same time, often with limited differences between them. When one of these websites is shut down, it has a ready replacement that can be accessed from major search engines using the similar terms.
CIB Assistant Director Max Vetter commented: “It is, effectively, a numbers game. At the moment the counterfeiters are winning because the ISPs do not scrutinise the sites that they host- their sole interest is in getting their hosting fee. Most ISPs lack the will or mechanisms to spot the websites selling fakes- even though, in practice, this would be a relatively simple procedure.”
The CIB approach is to produce an intelligence package on each website that they investigate. Using covert techniques and a human-based approach, as opposed to running algorithms in the way many companies do, the aim is to establish a clear picture of the entire network operated by the counterfeiters. Gaining this snapshot before a website is closed down is vital since it provides a number of leads on where the perpetrators may set up shop next. Once the intelligence has been collected and collated it can be used by the CIB member in more than one way.
Mr Vetter continued: “Whilst our intelligence packages can be used for criminal prosecutions, our members do not always use this avenue given a cost/benefit analysis- in many jurisdictions, anti-counterfeiting has low priority so litigation may be costly and ineffective. An alternative to prosecution (ATP) can be used to get websites shut down quickly, avoiding the costly legal avenue. CIB can deploy several ATP techniques, thus making the exercise more cost-effective.”
For more information on CIB services and membership, call +44 (0)207 423 6960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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