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Counterfeiting is an industry-wide, global issue, that affects all retail channels. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that pirated and counterfeit products make up 2.5 percent of world trade—that’s $464 billion a year, or roughly the gross domestic product of the country of Belgium. Counterfeiters deprive brand owners of the value of their intellectual property and compete unfairly with honest entrepreneurs. They are criminals that may also be associated with transnational networks engaged in a wide range of illicit behavior, including trafficking in narcotics, arms, persons, and wildlife. Billions of dollars from these activities flow through the global economy each year, distorting local economies, diminishing legitimate business revenues, eroding social conditions, harming public safety and security, and fueling conflict.
The Internet has provided new opportunities and mechanisms for trading goods and services via e-commerce. At the same time, the openness of the Internet and the anonymity that surrounds many online transactions also make it attractive to counterfeiters, providing them with easy access to markets, with low risk of detection and, if caught, relatively low penalties in many jurisdictions. As highlighted by OECD research, in many jurisdictions “counterfeiting goes largely unpunished due to difficulties in coordinating effective responses and perceptions that these are ‘victimless’ crimes that do not warrant significant action,” among other challenges. Combating these crimes takes agile, multilateral, multidisciplinary teams using a full range of innovative tools. Cross-domain experts from government, industry, law enforcement, and social sciences together with technologists specializing in data mining and analysis, AI/ML, IP rights or other areas can make huge in-roads in detecting counterfeits and disrupting supply chains.
We challenge you to present a solution that enhances, or overcomes policy blockers (legal, regulatory, administrative) to effective public-private collaboration in the fight against counterfeiting. Ideas that enhance data sharing and operational collaboration among the private-sector and state, local, and federal law enforcement entities are of particular interest in this event. The results of this policy hackathon will provide input for a technology-focused follow up challenge.
Questions to consider might include:
- What mechanisms (legal, policy, technical) would enable faster and more effective public and private sector information-sharing and collaboration on this issue? For example-
- Sharing information on the identification of new and emerging schemes to stay ahead of criminals involved in the trade of counterfeits
- Connecting information about counterfeiters / related networks among federal, state, and local law enforcement in the US and globally to support investigations and successful prosecutions
- How can we increase transparency across supply chains to make it easier to identify the movement of counterfeit goods or counterfeit parts of goods?
- What tools could be developed for use by law enforcement authorities to identify counterfeits before they reach consumers or sale points?
- How can mapping or other data visualizations of related data (e.g. supply chains) be used in this fight?
- How can we protect consumer safety through more proactive actions against counterfeiters?
- Teams can consist of up to five members. EVERY team member must register for the event.
- Teams can be based anywhere in the world. Please note the scheduled live event times are in U.S. Eastern Time (GMT-04:00)
- Entries submitted by employees of sponsoring companies or organizations will not be judged by a judge from the same company or organization.
- Participants under the age of 18 will be required to complete a simple permission form to participate. Participants must be at least 13 years of age.
- Participants are encouraged to find complementary skills in our dedicated Slack channel. You can find policy gurus, techies, businesses, and innovators to fill gaps on your team!
- Mentors will be available for teams that desire to consult with subject matter experts in anti-counterfeiting legal and enforcement regimes in the United States, technology, product development, and other areas.
- The mentor’s role is to offer feedback and advice; mentors are not project leads. Team submissions should be driven by the team members from conception to completion.
In-person in Arlington, VA - Invite only
Submissions must reflect the original work of the project team alone and must consist of the following components:
- Written concept paper (up to 5 pages) outlining Policy/Business Idea
- Template will be available soon
- Written application via DevPost outlining Prototype idea
- Video pitch of prototype* demo (no more than 3 minutes)
* A prototype should demonstrate the idea and how it works. It is a visual representation and should be functional in the sense that it might be clickable but does not require a database. It should NOT be a set of slides. Teams do not need to submit code but can if they desire to do so. A separate Slack channel will be provided for prototyping tips and suggestions for tools.
**Submissions must be in English
$52,000 in prizes
CINA Follow-on Research Project Prize
Research Funding. See official event site (https://expeditionhacks.com/counterfeiting/) for details.
Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:
National Crime Prevention Council
National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center
Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection, Michigan State University
Attorney General Alliance
Amazon’s Counterfeit Crimes Unit (CCU)
United States PTO
How impactful could this solution be to U.S. law enforcement at the state, local, or federal levels or to private-sector entities engaged in this fight against counterfeiting?
What is the potential for scalability? How costly would this solution be to bring to scale? Could it be accomplished under current authorities and resources or would it require new legislation and appropriations?
How original is this solution? Does it set itself apart from existing solutions? Does it demonstrate outside-the-box thinking?
Is this solution thoughtful and complete? Is the strategy appropriate?