FBI expands partner network for IP infringement fight

FBI analystThe Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has pledged to work more closely with businesses as it implements a new strategy to tackle intellectual property crime.

The statements come in the wake of a new Department of Justice (DoJ) policy - unveiled last October - to respond to the digitisation of the economy and the changes in which people and organisations "share information, store data, make purchases and develop products."

The FBI's new approach will see it work closely with a range of third-party organisations, including not only brand owners but also online marketplaces, payment service providers, and advertisers who may inadvertently enable the activities of counterfeiters.

David Farquhar, who heads up the IP and cybercrimes unit in the FBI's National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (NIPRCC), said expanding its network to include these new partners will enhance its ability to take the fight to criminals.

"We're not only broadening awareness of the crime problem, we can also obtain information about crime trends, get investigative leads that will help us identify criminals, and collect evidence of criminal activity," he said.

The FBI will also assist these companies with refining their own analytical tools and techniques for uncovering fraud, he added.

Also new in our approach to intellectual property theft is an enhanced relationship between the FBI's criminal and counterintelligence personnel when working theft of trade secrets cases, said the agency.

A case worked under the counterintelligence programme - which occurs when the involvement of state-sponsored actors is suspected - will be referred to a criminal squad if no state sponsorship is found.

Similarly, if and when criminal investigators begin to suspect the involvement of a state sponsor, the case will be referred to the counterintelligence squad.

"Our goal is to contain and/or even prevent the theft as quickly as possible, no matter who's behind it," it said.

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