SEOUL, Republic of Korea – Illicit trade is a growing threat to society as it incurs economic, societal and security costs. From counterfeiting and smuggling to the illegal sale or possession of goods and services, governments are losing billions in tax revenues, legitimate businesses are undermined, and consumers are exposed to unregulated products.
To counter this threat, some 450 law enforcement officials as well as security and industry experts from 70 countries and nine organizations are meeting at the 15th International IP Crime Conference, both in person and online.
INTERPOL and the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) in partnership with Underwriters Laboratories are co-hosting the three-day event (19-21 September).
Amongst key topics, participants will discuss online piracy, operational and investigative support to fight IP crime globally, money laundering, pharmaceuticals – consumer health and safety, women in IP and capacity building.
Global Threat of IP Crime
IP crime touches all industry sectors, affecting the global economy and endangering public health. According to some estimates, the global trade in illicit pharmaceuticals alone represents more than USD 4 billion a year.
“INTERPOL is here to help law enforcement, and partners, gain the knowledge, skills and best practices needed to face these threats and disrupt the criminal groups making huge profits from a very real human cost,” Secretary General Stock added.
Coordinated action against illicit markets
Unregulated and counterfeit medicines target the most vulnerable groups in society and endanger lives. Growing consumer demand and the COVID-19 pandemic has also led to the increased sale and supply of illicit medical products from unauthorized and unregulated websites.
In this context, INTERPOL coordinates regional and global law enforcement operations to help its member countries fight against illicit markets.
For example, Operation Pangea XV in June 2022 resulted in the seizure of an estimated USD 11 million in illicit medicines. At the same time, law enforcement agencies shut down or removed more than 4,000 web links containing adverts for illicit products.
“Close collaboration is essential to help combat illicit markets and protect valuable intellectual property. The Korean National Police Agency will be at the forefront of these coordinated efforts,” said Mr. YOON Hee Keun, Commissioner General of Korean National Police Agency.
Capacity building and training strategies
In partnership with UL, INTERPOL has developed a global online training platform, the International Intellectual Property Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC), which provides opportunities for self-paced training and educational webinars.
The interactive training platform has become an important educational tool for law enforcement and rights-holders worldwide, ensuring frontline officers have access to the necessary training and information.