Important things to know from an IP Investigator
Interview by Dawn Sgarlata, GSSC
Interview with IP Investigator Jim Ricaurte
Owner of Allegiance Protection Group
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim and he answered some great questions about what you should look for when hiring an IP Investigator and the important role they play in brand protection.
1. What does a typical day look like for an IP Investigator?
There is really no typical day for an IP Investigator. Things constantly change from hour to hour, so time management is important. Accessing the proper resources to accomplish the objective at hand within the brand’s expectations and goal is a key component for a successful day.
In this field, an IP Investigator is constantly assessing each step of an investigation as it develops. While some of the initial investigation is handled at the office, by conducting background research and evaluating the information, ultimately the bulk of the investigation is handled out in the field. Observing new trends, developing new information, conducting interviews, and operating covertly to obtain evidence and/or statements, or simply to observe a location and the movements of individuals and watch their interactions. It is anything but typical.
2. What are the first things that an up and coming brand should look for when hiring an IP Investigator?
It is very important that a brand does their due diligence and background when hiring an IP Investigator. Make sure the IP Investigator is properly licensed in the state that you’re seeking their assistance and have more than adequate insurance in place.
Recommendations are a part of the selection process, especially from other brands within the same industry. However, a brand should also consider interviewing the IP Investigator being considered. The interview process can be over the phone, and not take much time but yet be very informative. In preparation, the brand should prepare specific questions such as, background, experience, contributions and accomplishments within the IP arena. One can learn a lot from a conversation with your investigator candidate.
Remember, you’re seeking to trust an outside person with confidential information, your brand’s reputation, and to act on your behalf. You want to be confident that your selection is utilizing best practices while conducting themselves in an ethical manner, and that the work is not subcontracted out to an unknown third party.
3. Why is it necessary for a brand to hire an IP Investigator?
First, IP Investigations are best handled by licensed investigative professionals, especially if the information gathered will be utilized in court proceedings. A brand should avoid placing oneself to be a potential witness, when possible.
Hiring an IP Investigator has many added benefits, such as having the right network of contacts, and will know what investigative steps works best to mitigate your brand’s counterfeiting issues. Not to mention may already have first-hand knowledge of where your counterfeited products are being sold and how it’s being distributed. They can become an extension of your brand protection program and a resource to support field requests such as trainings, and product authentications as well as project a presence of a brand’s efforts.
A well experienced IP Investigator will be able to guide a brand when making a determination to refer a counterfeiting investigation to law enforcement, or if the investigation would be best suited through civil remedies. The brand should consider having a completed investigation beforehand as this not only will reveal the scope of the counterfeiting issue, but also tends to move things quicker if it’s then referred to law enforcement.
4. Is it beneficial for investigators to have ways to check products in order to tell if something is authentic?
Yes, it very important for IP Investigators not only to have ways to check products, but also be absolutely certain as to the authenticity of the product in question. Nowadays, the quality of the counterfeit has significantly improved. There have been those occasions, when a brand protection manager had to send out the suspect product to their manufacturing experts to make an absolute determination. The more tools and reference points an IP Investigator has to assist in the authentication during the course of their investigation the better.
Allegiance Protection Group
Allegiance Protection Group is an established Private Investigation and Security firm, specializing in Intellectual Property investigations with over a decade long track record of success, while supporting many different industry rights holders in their anti-counterfeiting programs.
Graphic Security Systems Corporation (GSSC) is an anti-counterfeiting technology company that provides state-of-the-art document security and brand protection solutions. GSSC specializes in developing custom tailored solutions that seamlessly fit into your existing design and security infrastructure.