While many brand owners are generally aware of and work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to record trademark and copyright registrations and help with seizures, fewer may understand the role of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), which leads the U.S. government’s response to stop global IP theft and enforce trade laws.

The IPR Center is comprised of federal agencies and industry experts and develops initiatives, coordinates enforcement actions, and shares information related to intellectual property theft between different enforcement arms. It also raises awareness of the dangers of IP theft, fraud, cyber intrusions, and trade violations. Its efforts extend worldwide, via coordinating efforts between 25 key federal and international government agencies and private sector partners.

An example of the IPR’s efforts is its ongoing Operation Team Player (OTP) program that is dedicated to cracking down on the illegal importation of counterfeit sports apparel and entertainment merchandise. Most recently, the OTP public awareness campaign, “True Fans Keep It Real” is enjoying notable impact; with engagement by the major sports leagues, the IPR Center Director, James Mancuso reports that the campaign, “has become the biggest anti-counterfeiting initiative within the federal government to combat intellectual property theft and prevent counterfeit merchandise from reaching sports fans.”

This summer, OTP will be focusing on several major sporting events, such as the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France, and is looking ahead to other significant global events as the U.S.

As always, the success of any anti-counterfeiting campaign is brand engagement and vigilance. The IPR Center website contains helpful information on how to report suspected fraud along with additional resources for brand owners on how to combat counterfeiting across industries.

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