Building a Great Investigation,
From Lead to Prosecution

On May 2-4, 2023, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) hosted its inaugural Summit Series.  

In keeping with the theme of our summit, “Building a Great Investigation, From Lead to Prosecution”,  we designed panel and individual presentations to aid law enforcement and industry experts in their efforts to develop cases against counterfeiters and other criminals who violate lawful trade. Topics of discussion included: developing strong leads, working with law enforcement during an investigation, what a prosecutor is looking for, and supporting a trial. We also presented case studies of successful, up-to-date investigations.  

We were fortunate to be able to highlight many knowledgeable and engaging speakers over the course of the summit, to include MSU A-CAPP Director Kari Kammel and our keynote speakers: 

  • Katrina W. Berger, acting Executive Associate Director for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)  
  • Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division 
  • Brad Buckles, Chief Content Protection Officer, Recording Industry Association of America
  • Angel M. Melendez, Senior Director, Pfizer Global Security – Americas Investigations 
  • Gary Robinson, Detective Chief Inspector, City of London Police, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU)  
  • Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Content Protection for the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and Head of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) 

Attendees represented a wide variety of industries to include apparel, automotive, entertainment, pharmaceutical, and personal technology, as well as academia and domestic and international law enforcement, and this wide spectrum of industries helped us find common ground across diverse subject matter.  

The hosting of the summit fulfills Congressionally mandated duties of the IPR Center under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (Pub. Law 114-125).  There is more, however, to why the IPR Center hosted the summit. “When the idea to host an outreach event that would strengthen the bridge between government and industry was first proposed, I knew the IPR Center had a significant amount of information to contribute and that we were the right entity to lead the discussions,” said Director Jim Mancuso. 

Because the Summit Series was a first of its kind for the IPR Center, weekly planning meetings started in November 2022. There were many novel issues to be discussed as we developed the summit blueprint. Who is the intended audience?  Where should we hold the summit?  What is our theme and message? How should information be conveyed? How do we ensure that we present ourselves professionally through printed materials? What about light refreshments? And the questions went on. Yet through it all, we returned to the same question: Are we being mindful/respectful/supportive of the time, effort, and money that our attendees will extend to come?   

Thankfully, attendee feedback regarding the event has been positive; most people indicated that they learned new information and found the event to be worthwhile overall. However, this does not mean that we are going to rest upon our laurels. We are evaluating what worked and what did not with an eye toward ensuring that we improve as we move forward. We are grateful to everyone who supported us throughout this undertaking, and look forward to working with all of you throughout the year.