Kari Kammel
Assistant Director Education and Outreach, Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection
Michigan State University

The fight for improving responses to product counterfeiting and protecting brands continued as Michigan State University’s Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (MSU A-CAPP Center) hosted its 3rd Annual Brand Protection Strategy Summit. The Summit was held at the Lansing Center and the fabulous piece of Michigan history—the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing, Michigan.

We were excited to see that 62 percent of our attendees were new to the Summit. I was particularly pleased by the diverse backgrounds of panelists and attendees from major industries and vital governmental agencies—both federal and state—which allowed for important in-depth conversations.  

We chose a format and structure for the Summit that focused on the ability to interact and share with presenters, panelists, and colleagues. We wanted to enable attendees to have in-depth discussion and networking opportunities throughout the entire event and not just during breaks or meals. Accordingly, for each of three themes—Partnerships, Return on Investment, and E-Commerce—the Summit flowed from an introduction to the theme, to an in-depth panel conversation about the topic, to a chance to ask questions of the panelists in high-top sessions, to a wrap-up summarizing best practices and concrete takeaways for attendees.  Our three themes were carefully chosen by the A-CAPP Center team based on timely topics, interest of the brand protection community, and A-CAPP Center research. The drill down on the three topics allowed attendees to explore these topics with other brands, law enforcement, and academics. 

Theme: Partnerships

The highlight of the partnerships theme was the interaction between presenters, panelists and attendees on challenges and successes that they experience in brand protection. Hearing perspectives from law enforcement and brand owners regarding their strategies on approaching each other made this theme of particular value to attendees. Kevin Friker (Mars) kicked off the day and the theme with a talk on the importance of partnerships, which was followed by two engaging panels led by Jay Kennedy (MSU A-CAPP Center) and Leah Evert-Burks (MSU A-CAPP Center) that explored the challenges and successes of building partnerships in this space.  Panelists included: David Potter (Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Illinois), Tiffany Pho (International Trademark Association), Jason Daniels (UL), Goli Gharib (U. S. Customs and Border Protection), Kasie Brill (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Information Property Center), Bill Ross (National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center), and Jim Simmons (Qualcomm).

Theme: ROI

The return on investment theme focused on the A-CAPP Center’s in-depth research on the topic with industry feedback, which was of particular interest to many attendees. Rich Kaeser (Johnson & Johnson) led the ROI session of the summit with an introduction.  Jeremy Wilson, (MSU A-CAPP Center) and Karen Sedatole (Emory U.)  presented ongoing research on return on investment being conducted by the A-CAPP Center. Response panels included: Ahmet Kirca (MSU), Lisa McCann (Avaya), Shaila Vaidya (DuPont), Will Demeré (U. of Missouri), Dean Brocious (Lbrands), and Jason Kosofsky (Ford).

Theme:  E-Commerce

The E-Commerce theme presented a holistic view of product counterfeits online, expanding the conversation to include brands, platforms, payment providers, and consumer perspectives. By exploring this complex issue from many vantage points, attendees were able to learn how their colleagues deal with the online marketplaces. The E-Commerce theme opened with a presentation by Laurie Iacono (National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance) and was followed by two panels led by Jay Kennedy (MSU A-CAPP Center) and Brandon Sullivan (MSU A-CAPP Center).  Panelists included: Saleem Alhabash (MSU), Hairong Li (MSU), Donna Gregory (FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center), Thomas Nichols (General Motors), Steven Shapiro (FBI), Aaron Weiss (Western Union), Melissa Kriz (Amazon), and Kebharu Smith (U.S. Department of Justice). 

The A-CAPP Center additionally honored the following individuals: Brand Protection Hero Award – Sgt. James Kryskowiak of the Raleigh Police Department and Pioneer Award- Dr. Ed McGarrell, Professor, School of Criminal Justice, MSU.

Annual Reception

I’m pleased that at our Annual Reception we could share a meal with the Summit attendees at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum to show our gratitude to our sponsors and partners for their contributions to the Center. Attendees strolled through the museum showcasing Lansing’s contribution to the auto industry by Oldsmobile, as a local band, Eye96, set the mood during the Michigan heat wave on one of the warmest evenings on record for October.

A special thanks to our event sponsors for supporting one of the A-CAPP Center’s most important initiatives and helping to make this possible. Thanks to UL, Johnson & Johnson, Lbrands, Merck, Western Union, Avaya, and Amazon, as well as gift sponsors Kellogg’s, Under Armour, and Lbrands. 

We’re delighted that we could provide a space for our partners that facilitated open, collaborative, and meaningful conversations on brand protection with brand owners, law enforcement, government, associations, academia, and MSU students and interns. Several attendees noted that the networking opportunities far exceeded those experienced at other conferences and that the panels had the right mix from brands and law enforcement. We look forward to continuing this dynamic event. Summit attendees interested in particular topics or with questions for 2018, should please reach out to me directly at kkammel@msu.edu. 

Looking forward to seeing you all back in Michigan next October!