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Does the IP Industry Reach Out to Federal Law Enforcement Enough?

I was recently reading an article titled, “Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth?– Interaction with Federal Law Enforcement,” published in the March 2017 issue of The Brand Protection Professional, written by retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent and Former Program Manager at the National IPR Center, Michael LeMieux.

The following quote got my attention, “…industry representatives infrequently reached out to us, though we were available and ready to discuss myriad technical and proactive crime-fighting strategies at which federal law enforcement excels.”[1]

Very interesting. So why was that?


LeMieux theorizes that although it is quite different today, there was a time when “…federal law enforcement was more guarded with out of state and local law enforcement partners, let alone industry representatives.”


LeMieux explained that “Without a vigorous and ongoing sharing of information beyond criminal cases, we risk reverting to default roles of ‘investigator’ and ‘complainant.’…It takes more effort to expand those discussions to conceptual or technical areas where strategy can be developed.”


LeMieux details three (3) primary benefits to robust interaction:

  1. Industry Benefit – “IP-focused law enforcement is engaged in the full spectrum of e-commerce intermediaries, as well as brands across a wide range of industries…sophisticated investigative techniques, many of which are increasingly being used by industry.”
  2. Law Enforcement Benefit – “…industry provides…expertise and education…and even on the efficacy of third-party providers of brand protection services can all help larger-scale federal law enforcement efforts.”
  3. Joint Benefit – “…early in a case, the industry can learn what federal prosecutors need for action, and federal law enforcement can ensure evidence-gathering proceeds in a way that is most useful for prosecutors.”


LeMieux details what the IP industry should do:

  1. “Initiate more frequent interactions with federal law enforcement specializing in IP.”
  2. “Expand your interactions…into such areas as technical and proactive crime fighting topics.”
  3. “Interact with as many members of a law enforcement team as feasible.”
  4. “Ask questions…lots of them.”


Here is a quote from my October 2016 post titled, “U.S. Government Resources Dedicated to the Investigations and Prosecution of IP Crime, ” which I think says it all:

“The FBI’s IPR Unit is headquartered at the IPR Center and the FBI Special Agents dedicated to investigating IP crime are located in field offices throughout the country. The IPR Unit and agents work closely with all FBI field offices to combat IP crime. The FBI’s IPR Unit encourages victims to report intellectual property crimes through the IPR Center or to any of the FBI’s 56 field offices. Rights holders are also encouraged to develop a relationship with an FBI agent in a local field office before an incident occurs.”[2]

Hopefully, the IP industry’s interaction with federal law enforcement has improved since LeMieux’s article was published eleven months ago, if not–

What is the IP industry waiting for!

*Michael J. LeMieux is currently a consultant and a fellow at the Michigan State University, Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP)

[1] March 2017 issue of The Brand Protection Professional published by the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP), Michigan State University

[2] “U.S. Government Resources Dedicated to the Investigations and Prosecution of IP Crime”

U.S. Government Resources Dedicated to the Investigation and Prosecution of IP Crime


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Ron Alvarez is an IP investigations and protection consultant and writer in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron has since coordinated the private investigation of international fraud and money laundering cases, as well as IP-related investigations and research involving the four pillars of IP: copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has written a number of articles for various investigative publications, as well as published "The World of Intellectual Property (IP) Protection and Investigations" in November 2021.

5 comments on “Does the IP Industry Reach Out to Federal Law Enforcement Enough?

  1. Great article…the IPR Center also has specific helpful documentation for brand holders as to what referral information they need and will best help them (law enforcement) put a criminal case or enforcement action together going forward. Local field personnel will have similar information if you ask them.

  2. Pingback: Does the IP Industry Reach Out to Federal Law Enforcement Enough? – FOLLOW-UP – IP-PI-BLOG

  3. Pingback: Use of IP-PIs Embraced by International Trademark Association (INTA) – IP-PI-BLOG

  4. Pingback: UK Private Prosecution – Nightmare for One Alleged Trade Secrets Thief – IP PI BLOG

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