In an effort to bolster international partnerships and information sharing on intellectual property crime, the European Police Office (Europol) joined the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) to become the center’s 20th partner agency.
During today’s ceremony marking the alliance, IPR Center Director Lev Kubiak and Europol Operations Department Assistant Director Troels Oertling signed an agreement, outlining cooperation protocols and the investigative lead dissemination process.
“I’m excited about this new partnership with Europol, which greatly enhances cooperation and leverages greater resources, skills and authorities,” said Kubiak. “We will continue to work closely with our international and domestic law enforcement partners to facilitate global investigations and continue to crack down on transnational IP theft.”
Europol’s Director, Rob Wainwright, said of the new agreement: “I very much welcome this closer and improved link with the ICE IPR Coordination Center. Intellectual property theft is a rapidly growing and evolving area of criminal activity, with a massive economic cost to business and society, which we must work hard to minimise. By sharing intelligence and best practices, the cooperation between our two agencies will inevitably lead to future operational successes.”
Founded in 2000, the IPR Center is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The center uses the expertise of its 20 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.
Europol is the European law enforcement agency whose mission is to support the European Union Member States in preventing and combating all forms of serious transnational crime and terrorism. Europol received the mandate to work on intellectual property-related crime in 2002. For years now, Europol has built up operational expertise and networking facilities in EU Member States and beyond. In 2010, for example, a key operation was coordinated by Europol and Eurojust, covering 10 different EU countries, and led to the dismantling of an organised criminal network linked to the Camorra in Naples.
The center employs a true task force model to optimize the roles and enforcement efforts of member agencies, while enhancing government-industry partnerships to support ongoing IPR enforcement initiatives.
Europol is the fourth international partner agency and joins the center’s other 19 partner agencies, which include:
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service
- Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations
- Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration
- Naval Criminal Investigative Service
- Defense Criminal Investigative Service
- U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit
- Defense Logistics Agency, Office of Inspector General
- Air Force Office of Special Investigations
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office of Inspector General
- U.S. Department of State, Office of International Intellectual Property Enforcement
- International Criminal Police Organization
- Mexican Revenue Service
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit http://www.iprcenter.gov/.