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Interview with an IP Investigator

Important things to know from an IP Investigator 
Interview by Dawn Sgarlata, GSSC

 

Interview with IP Investigator Jim Ricaurte
Owner of Allegiance Protection Group

Summary
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.

For more information visit – www.allegianceprotection.com or email Jim at j.ricaurte@allegianceprotection.com


GSSC
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.

For more information visit – www.graphicsecurity.com or email Dawn at dsgarlata@graphicsecurity.com

 

Should Consumers Trust Your Brand? When To Select Your Brand Protection Technology.

Brand Protection Technology - BrandMark

The Proactive / Reactive Dilemma

With so many brand products to choose from, the last thing shoppers want to worry about is if the brand product they’re buying is authentic and safe.

Coming from the corporate side, companies may question whether they really need to be concerned about their product(s) being counterfeited and, if and when they need to take action.

The truth of the matter is, if your brand is popular and widely distributed, it’s more than likely that your brand is being compromised or will be.

At the rapidly growing rate of seized counterfeit goods in the United States reaching $1.38 Trillion, brand owners should take a close hard look at their own product and packaging security status for a possible call to action.

So when should an organization begin this vital process? Should they take a proactive approach against counterfeiters attacking their goods? Or, should they take a reactive position and wait until the problem reveals its ugly head?

When companies begin contemplating a brand protection strategy, there are a number of factors that come into play. These may include: the negative ramifications of exposing the problem to the public, the cost and time to implement new brand protection technology into their current printing and distribution process and, creating a new department to monitor and support such a program. Also companies who choose to be reactive, may put themselves at greater risk for expensive lawsuits that can cause irreparable damage to the brand and organization.

Regardless of whether a company is being proactive or reactive, the above mentioned issues can be addressed in a positive manner. For example, companies can approach a seemingly negative situation by launching a positive marketing campaign that educates the public while informing them of additional measures being taken to protect their safety and well-being. This could instill consumer confidence and help attract new customers to their brand. Additionally, involving the consumer in the checking of goods with a smartphone brand protection App, allows the consumer to become part of the solution and the overall global network of field inspectors. This would provide the ability for organizations to check vast amounts of goods over a larger territory, as well as simultaneously gathering valuable consumer data.

However, it is not always necessary to mention anything to the public regarding a company’s anti-counterfeiting program. Some companies will keep their brand protection program totally covert where only limited personnel and inspectors have knowledge of the brand protection technology implemented and its methods of verification.

From a financial perspective, a firm’s marketing budget usually exceeds its product security budget. Knowing this, organizations can decide on ways to allocate funding from one department to another where both divisions (Marketing and Brand Integrity) can benefit and achieve their own respective objectives.

Lastly, depending on the brand protection solution chosen, certain technologies can be integrated into existing production processes without increasing production costs and/or altering existing operating procedures. This can be achieved by using brand protection technologies that can be produced using standard printing methods that aren’t reliant on specialty inks and/or other expensive consumables.

After considering all the pros and cons for being either proactive or reactive, it comes down to how confident you are that your brand is not vulnerable to an attack. And if it is compromised, what will the cost be to repair the damage?

Infographic-Counterfeit

SOURCE: https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/assets/documents/2017-Jan/FY%2016%20IPR%20Stats%20FINAL%201.25.pdf

If you would like to stay updated on more information about our brand protection technologies and how you can protect your brand from counterfeit, CONTACT GSSC to get started.