2012 International Law Enforcement Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Conference

11-13 September 2012 - Panama City, Panama

This annual conference provides a unique forum for delegates to learn about and discuss operational best practices in the fight against transnational organized intellectual property (IP) crime.

Initiated in order to focus on operational activities, the conference brings together police, customs, regulatory agencies, private sector IP crime investigators and prosecutors to share and develop best practices to combat counterfeiting and piracy crimes. This valuable opportunity is rarely found at other forums where the emphasis is often on high-level strategy rather than providing practical operational solutions to common problems.

2012: building on past success

Attended by more than 500 delegates – representing both the public and private sectors – from 58 countries, the three-day conference was co-hosted by INTERPOL and the Policía Nacional de Panamá, in partnership with Underwriters Laboratories.

The theme of the 2012 conference was "East Meets West – Working with the Americas to Combat Counterfeiting". It included plenary sessions, panel sessions, operational workshops, interactive round-tables, specialized IP crime training sessions, a networking lounge and an exhibition area.

This year, the conference featured more time in the agenda for one-to-one networking where delegates discussed operational matters with representatives of investigative agencies and other stakeholders. There was also an opportunity for law enforcement representatives to receive product identification training from rights holders.

This is the sixth edition of the conference and, as such, it has built on the success of past events. This continuity is essential to ensure that investigative techniques can evolve to overcome the changing methods employed by innovative transnational criminals at the centre of organized IP crime activities.

Operations in the Americas

The location for this year’s conference and its theme – “East Meets West: Working with the Americas to Combat Counterfeiting” – are highly relevant, given the history of our IP crime operations. The first real international success using our integrated training and operational intervention model came in South America in 2004 with Operation Jupiter. The Operation has been expanded through the region year after year and has led to sustained and truly shared success.

By 2010, total seizures of illicit goods under the various phases of Operation Jupiter were valued at more than USD 506 million, with 1,662 arrests made by police and customs in member countries.

Another operation that has enjoyed similar levels of collective success throughout Central and North America is Operation Maya,  deployed in 11 countries in partnership with the private sector.

The importance of the private sector

The situation in the Americas closely mirrors the situation elsewhere in the world and the lessons learnt from these outstanding partnership initiatives are equally applicable in other regions. The ongoing challenge is to integrate and maximize the benefits that we all derive from ever closer cooperation.

The private sector and industry play a vital role in collective efforts to fight illicit trade and IP crime in partnership with INTERPOL’s 190 member countries. A focal point for industry support is INTERPOL's Fund for a Safer World which will help us develop a strong global programme against trafficking in illicit goods, helping to protect the health and safety of consumers, as well as the interests of commercial companies.

Opening address: Mr Khoo Boon Hui, INTERPOL President

INTERPOL International IP Crime Conference, John Newton, Assistant Director

INTERPOL International IP Crime Conference: Brian Monks, Underwriters Laboratories

INTERPOL International IP Crime Conference Michael Kwan, Hong Kong Customs

Dorian Mazurkevich, United States Patent and Trademark Office

INTERPOL International IP Crime Conference Chris Vansteenkiste, EUROPOL