Dear BPP readers,

These last few months have changed everyone’s world. Prior to the beginning of the year did we really know “quarantine” originates from a term for being isolated for 40 days? That this family of viruses was named “corona” due to the crown shaped prongs that enable it to latch on and hold on to do its damage — not me. Even things that may seem much the same in my daily life such as working from home, are different as my typically busy street has been quiet since March, and though I sit between two schools I no longer hear the buses or the chatter of children. My college librarian husband now works at the dining room table, as do my children from their separate homes, along with much of the rest of the world.

In this edition of The Brand Protection Professional, we have worked to bring you stories that will interest you and prove relevant to BP practice during this time — this continues as an essential part of our mission. But, before I talk about this edition specifically, I want to take a moment to give a shout-out and dedicate appreciation to all the brands that stepped up during this unprecedented time. Reengineering their production lines, diverting and unraveling supply chains, reworking worldwide logistics to aid in the manufacturing and distribution of PPE, medical devices, basic food and supplies. Brands that in “normal” times produce t-shirts, backpacks, perfumes, footwear, sports goggles, automobiles, computers, vacuums or even tent builders for musical events and those in space travel quickly pivoted to provide assistance. Many of these brands are our esteemed partners at the A-CAPP Center. Let me add another “thank you” to the avalanche of deserved gratitude. This is a time when corporate and human good can shine through.

So onto this edition — I am excited to introduce our new digital format! As part of our commitment, we have dedicated resources to making the BPP more technically versatile, which will enable the content to be more findable and shareable by our community. Likewise, it will be easier to read and navigate through each issue on your various devices. We hope that you will enjoy the functionality of this new format and are assured that we are dedicated to continuing to provide the brand protection community with relevant and concise content on issues we care about. True to our mission, we have improved the BPP to continue to be an “accessible comprehensive forum containing essential information for the brand protection community.”

In this issue we provide robust material relevant to brand protection and the COVID-19 crisis including an Associate Professor at University of California, San Diego in the School of Medicine (among other credentials) who discusses “COVID-19: A Cyber Syndemic,” two former law enforcement officials now in brand protection practice who talk about “Looking Forward: The Post-Pandemic Future of the Brand Protection Professional,” an article from an expert on illicit crime in the tobacco industry that discusses “How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Shaping Illicit Economics and Transnational Organized Crime,” an article from the World Health Organization and the International Chamber of Commerce/Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy which discusses “Risk Assessment on the Impact of Supply Chain Security Presented by the Coronavirus Outbreak,” an article from the A-CAPP Center, “Counterfeiting in a Time of Crises” that reveals how counterfeiting has ramped up during this unprecedented time and lastly, in the BP Forum, colleagues who speak to how this crisis has influenced brand protection strategy.

We have also included articles and columns that provide key information on BP practice elements outside of the corona-concentration to assist in going forward beyond the crisis. Those are:

An Epson brand protection manager shares how they are successfully combating in-country assembly of counterfeits in the Professional Pointer column, the conversation in A View from the Field reveals the role images play in counterfeiting, for the Industry Sector Update hear from pharmaceutical academia about the recently released report on “Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals Products,” and finally a review of academic research conducted on stakeholder strategies to combat illicit trade by leading brand protection researchers.

The BPP’s mission is to provide our readers with relevant material “to advance brand protection through the establishment of an accessible, comprehensive forum containing essential information for the brand protection community.” Please, always feel free to contact me directly at

Leah Evert-Burks

Editor in Chief and Industry Fellow
Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection
Michigan State University

Editorial Board

  • Saleem Alhabash
    Associate Professor
    Advertising and Public Relations
    College of Communication Arts and Sciences, MSU
  • Leah Evert-Burks
    Editor in Chief and Industry Fellow
    A-CAPP Center, MSU
  • Jeff Rojek
    A-CAPP Center, MSU
    Associate Professor

    School of Criminal Justice, MSU
  • Jade Sims
    Assistant Director
    International Trade Programs International Business Center
    Eli Broad College of Business, MSU
  • Tara Steketee
    Director, Product Integrity
    Global Security Group
    Merck & Co., Inc.
  • Vivian Vassallo
    Senior Director
    Intellectual Property & Enforcement
    Dolby Laboratories

BPP Staff

  • Leah Evert-Burks
    Editor in Chief and Industry Fellow
    A-CAPP Center, MSU
  • Sara Heeg
    Managing Editor and Business Manager
    A-CAPP Center, MSU
  • Jocelyn Tucker
    Communications Coordinator
    A-CAPP Center, MSU