PROPERTY OWNER LIABILITY: Why Brand Owners and Law Enforcement Should Involve Property Owners in Counterfeit and Piracy Investigations
Deputy City Attorney
Director, Anti-Counterfeit Enforcement Program, Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney
Readers of The Brand Protection Professional know intellectual property (IP) crimes are a massive worldwide problem. The proceeds of counterfeit goods fund gangs, organized crime, and terrorism. How can law enforcement and brand owners best investigate and stop these crimes? In Los Angeles, we have found that when IP crimes involve a fixed location, it is imperative to involve the property owner. Once notified by law enforcement, most property owners are willing to help reduce criminal activity on their property.
For the last seven years, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has involved property owners of targeted chronic counterfeit sales locations in resolving IP crime issues. When an IP case is referred to us, we evaluate it for both criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions. Potential defendants include individuals, businesses, and property owners. While our program, with one full-time prosecutor handling IP misdemeanors and the other IP civil enforcement. may be unique, many of its practices discussed below can be adapted to other jurisdictions.
Involving the property owner in your investigation requires a different thought process, and some additional effort. In Los Angeles we have found that the effort often pays excellent dividends. I encourage you to give this a try in your next case.
THE BRAND PROTECTION PROFESSIONAL | SEPTEMBER 2017 | VOLUME 2 NUMBER 3
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