PR: IACC and PIPCU partner to protect consumers from online counterfeits

Today the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and the City of London Police, Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) announced a joint effort to take down websites selling counterfeits through the IACC RogueBlock Program.

RogueBlock, the IACC's globally renowned, voluntary collaboration with international payment providers, targets online counterfeiters by terminating merchant accounts that illicit websites use to receive payments. Since its inception, it has terminated more than 5,300 individual merchant accounts, dismantling their ability to profit from an estimated 200,000 nefarious websites. The PIPCU collaboration expands RogueBlock's impact on counterfeiters by going after the websites themselves through PIPCU's Operation Ashiko. As part of its partnership PIPCU has agreed to consider each website submission from RogueBlock that fall within its jurisdiction, such as .uk domain names.

Operation Ashiko aims to tackle the online trade in counterfeit goods and protect the integrity of the UK domain tree by suspending websites committing intellectual property crime. Since its inception Operation Ashiko has suspended in excess of 20,000 websites by working with our industry partners. This creates a safer environment for consumers to purchase genuine goods and the funding of criminals committing intellectual property crime.

"The agreement sends a clear message to counterfeiters that their illegal and deceitful actions will not be tolerated in London and beyond," said IACC President Bob Barchiesi. "It represents exactly the kind of multifaceted approach that the modern battlefield of counterfeiting requires. With the help of PIPCU, we can fight counterfeiters through their wallets and their websites."

The initiative advances PIPCU's IP enforcement objectives by providing a streamlined source of counterfeit websites that are identified by rights holders and that includes all the information required to take action against them.

Detective Superintendent, Peter Ratcliffe, Head of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit said, "International partnerships are the key to tackling the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and by working with the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition we aim to make the internet a hostile place for criminals to sell and distribute fake goods."

The agreement falls under the IACC and PIPCU's memorandum of understanding (MOU), which was signed in September 2016. The MOU provides an opportunity for greater collaboration between the two organizations in intellectual property enforcement programs and initiatives.

The IACC has long worked in partnership with law enforcement agencies around the world to seek innovative ways to address the counterfeiting problem wherever needed. In addition to the City of London Police, the IACC has formalized partnerships with Europol, la Guardia di Finanza, the Saudi Consumer Protection Association, among others. The organization's training programs in the U.S., Latin America and beyond has connected and educated law enforcement in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The IACC's work with law enforcement is part of the organization's collaborative approach, which aims to combine its strength, expertise and resources with those of its partners to advance the fight against counterfeiting. The IACC continues to fulfil its mission by enhancing existing and developing new partnerships and programs to protect brands and consumers.

About the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit is a specialist national police unit dedicated to protecting the UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime.

The operationally independent unit was launched in September 2013 with funding from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The unit is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London Police, which is the National Policing Lead for Fraud.

About IACC

The IACC is a Washington, DC-based not for profit organization representing the interests of companies concerned with trademark counterfeiting and the related theft of intellectual property. The members of the IACC include many of the world's best-known brands across all product sectors. The IACC has played a leading role in the development of cross-industry voluntary agreements, to address the illicit trafficking of counterfeit and pirated goods online, including its IACC MarketSafe and RogueBlock initiatives.

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