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ANSI Conference Seeks Cross-Sector Anti-Counterfeiting Solutions

Counterfeit merchandise has led to numerous risks for consumers worldwide, from significant health and safety concerns over counterfeit life-saving drugs, to flammable electrical devices, to tremendous financial loss for U.S. businesses, government, and individuals. With up to $250 billion in business losses and 750,000 American jobs at stake each year, it's clear that the illegal and unethical actions of counterfeiters have led to economic instability and decreased quality of life for people all over the world.

In an effort to help find cross-sector solutions to this global challenge, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) convened a conference on September 22, 2010, Crossing Borders and Sectors: Exploring Robust Anti-Counterfeiting Solutions, as part of ANSI's annual World Standards Week events in Arlington, VA.

John Newton of INTERPOL outlined his organization's Certification Against Industry Counterfeiting (CAIC) initiative, which works with countries where counterfeit products originate to find solutions. He emphasized the importance of presenting source countries with evidence of how counterfeiting is as harmful for them as it is for the U.S., and of providing them with concrete help in the fight. Partnership and collaboration between multiple countries, customs, law enforcement, and industries are needed to establish effective measures, and INTERPOL is active in facilitating those solutions.

Brad Botwin of the Office of Technology Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and Ric Loeslein of the Naval Air Systems Command led the next panel discussion. They outlined an initiative when the Navy asked the DOC to develop a report on counterfeiting, including findings of the scope of the problem and best practices. The report found that a lack of dialogue across the supply chain led to an increased use of counterfeit products. People at each step of the chain thought that products had already been examined for counterfeits, but it wasn't happening anywhere. Better communication and training, shared lists of trusted - and untrusted - suppliers, and ensured destruction of counterfeit goods were named as best practices to reduce counterfeiting.

The event concluded with an open question and answer session led by William G. Raisch of the International Center for Enterprise Preparedness at New York University. Attendees discussed their views on how often and where in the supply chain checks for counterfeit products should be made. The need for greater outreach and education was emphasized, particularly with regard to smaller businesses. Another concern was that companies often hesitate to engage authorities when they discover counterfeiting for fear of getting a bad name. Participants suggested that industry organizations may help to mitigate this by bringing many companies together to discuss the problem, collaborate on solutions, and address issues on the entire industry's behalf.

ANSI is now compiling these and other key findings into a "best practices" action guide that will provide organizations with concrete steps to assess and address counterfeiting across industry sectors. Once completed, the guide will be freely available at

Proceedings and presentations from the event are available here. To view photos, click here. For more information on World Standards Week, visit


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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