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Fakes in Film: Elementary

Fakes in Film Elementary - Knockoff Report

Being raised in a family of private eyes named ‘Holmes’, I was bred to consume and critique the plethoric flow of Sherlock Holmes imitations as they careened by.  The truest incarnation of the Great Detective is, without peer, Jeremy Brett.  All others are just fun.  Jonny Lee Miller fits this bill in spades.  In the CBS crime drama “Elementary” he plays Sherlock Holmes, a recovering addict whose one-time sober companion, Joan Watson (played well by Lucy Liu, fluidly filling the once-male role) assists and chronicles his cases.  Of all of the humdrum procedural crime dramas on television, I’ve found myself drawn to the CBS show “Elementary”.  What may have begun as a familial obligation grew to an appreciation of the creators’ ability to tug at threads not yet before explored without losing any of the elements of the manically dependent genius we all know and respect.

After returning home from a short trip to Phoenix, Wifey and I sat and queued up the latest episode of “Elementary”.  In Season 3, Episode 10, entitled “Seed Money” Holmes and Watson investigate the murder of a bioengineer who worked for a drug cartel.  Initially, the investigation revealed that he was engineering marijuana strains for a large profit.  At the moment, the motive seemed to be that Mr. Scientist decided to leave his life of crime and he was offed by his employers.  Then, the hyper-aware Holmes observed a rare orchid in the scientist’s lab.  Turns out it’s not only stolen, but the rarest flower in the world, valued at $250,000.  As they explore his online activities, they find that he had sold this flower to an online auction bidder.  Since the item was still sitting on his desk, Holmes and Watson acted on the suspicion that Mr. Scientist had ripped someone off and was murdered as a result.  Turns out [SPOILER] this guy was such an amazing genetic engineer that he figured out how to counterfeit the rarest flower in the world.  The rest of the story involved an evil corporation and the wrath of a woman scorned.  Believe me, I know.  A woman scorned trumps an evil corporation every time.  No exceptions.  All in all, a fun yarn for a Thursday night.

As innovation progresses, fiction writers explore the possibilities of counterfeiting the less-than-conventional sides of the intellectual property world.  As we move forward in this unbelievable journey we call life we will continue to see creation and innovation dominate so many areas not previously explored.  Decades ago, intellectual property meant logos, words, processes and secrets.  Now we are seeing that the possibilities are endless.  I pinch myself some days because I am amazed to be witness to what our fathers and grandfathers would never have dreamed of.  And those who did dream of it called it science fiction.  Here’s to an unpredictable, exciting and volatile future.

Now, I’m going to drink my coffee.

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Knockoff Report™ #556

Killing, Not Curing Deadly Boom in Counterfeit Medicine in Afghanistan - Knockoff Report™ #556

Killing, Not Curing: Deadly Boom in Counterfeit Medicine in Afghanistan

Man’s Counterfeit Goods Empire Uncovered – When Someone Tried to Break into his Car

Phoenix Firefighter Arrested; Accused of Selling Counterfeit Jerseys

Police Seize Fake Oxycontin, Guns in Major Organized Crime Investigation

Couple Electronically Tagged Over Counterfeit Cigarettes

DARPA Doubles Down on Anti-Counterfeiting Program

Alibaba, Microsoft Agree to Crack Down on Counterfeit Software

What it’s Like Using a $27 Apple Watch Knockoff

Man Faces 17 Charges Relating to Selling of Counterfeit Medications Over the Internet Following Raid in Ipswich

Tamworth People Urged to Avoid Pitfalls of Counterfeit Goods in 2015

Counterfeit Refrigerants Throw a Scare in UAE

Cracking Down On College Football Counterfeit Goods

You Can Download North Korea’s OS X Knockoff for Desktops (But Don’t)

Thousands of Counterfeit Items Stopped at New Zealand Borders

Saskatoon Police Warn of Counterfeit Drugs Believed to be Behind Overdose Deaths

Deputies Seize Hundreds of Counterfeit Movies

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Knockoff Report™ #555

Chinese Lego Knockoff Boldly Markets 'Terrorist Car' Kit - Knockoff Report™ #555Chinese Lego Knockoff Boldly Markets ‘Terrorist Car’ Kit

Forget Drugs, Darknet Markets Are Selling Counterfeit Christmas Gifts

Alibaba Took Down 90 Million Fake Products Ahead of Its IPO

Counterfeit Electronics Market Growing Twice the Genuine Goods

Cuomo Signs Bill Allowing Counterfeit Clothing to Be Donated to People in Need

How to Make Sure You Don’t Accidentally Buy Counterfeit Vodka Made From Anti-Freeze

Operation ‘Bad Gifts’ Seizes Counterfeit Goods at JFK Airport

Warning of the Dangers of Counterfeit Straighteners

Nikon Europe Warns Against ‘Counterfeit’ D800E Cameras

2 Chinese Nationals Sentenced for Selling Counterfeit Cell Phone Cases Throughout Massachusetts

NYPD Bags Seven in Queens Counterfeit-Purse Ring

$5 Knockoff of World Famous Parker 51 Fountain Pen - Knockoff Report™ #555$5 Knockoff of World Famous Parker 51 Fountain Pen

eBay Seller Sues Monitoring Firm over Counterfeit Claims

Hong Kong Officials Seize Counterfeit Jasmine Rice

U.K. Dentists Warned About Counterfeit Equipment

UL Warns of Counterfeit Fire Sprinkler

Warning for Farm Exports, as Chinese Counterfeiters Rip Off Aussie Products

Piracy and Counterfeiting Should Be Made Unprofitable

Rogue Trader Found Guilty of Selling Counterfeit Pornography Avoids Spending Christmas in Jail

3 Charged in Counterfeit Raid at Greensboro Flea Market

Woman Accused of Selling Counterfeit Bags Arrested in Surry County

Counterfeit Merchandise Seized in Lexington Worth Almost $1M

Counterfeit DVDs Seized in Phillipsburg Raid

Gaston Man Convicted of Trafficking Counterfeit Goods, Illegal Medications

eBay Scales Back EMR Counterfeit Reporting Program

$15K Worth of Counterfeit North Face Clothes Seized in Logan County - Knockoff Report™ #555$15K Worth of Counterfeit North Face Clothes Seized in Logan County

Police Issue Warning After Counterfeit Tickets Found at Packers Game

BBB Warns Panthers Fans of Fake Tickets, Counterfeit Goods

Police Remove 8,000 Counterfeit DVDs From Laclede County Home

Flea Market Files Bankruptcy After $42M Coach Knockoff Purse Lawsuit

Indiana Excise Police Seize Alleged Counterfeit Merchandise, Pills and More in Wabash

Counterfeit Christmas Jumpers Seized in Cwmbran

Millions of Dollars of Counterfeit Items Found in Morehead Store

Counterfeit Frozen Toys Seized by Revenue Officers


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REVIEW: Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: U.S. Perspective

Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: U.S. PerspectiveSherri Schornstein is the US Attorney that pioneered much of the investigations we see practiced today. Be it Intellectual Property, or just web-related. Since the web has become relevant, Schornstein has been a major enforcement figure. I was honored to be a part of her project when she asked. In this book, “Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: U.S. Perspective”, I gave an interview that provided insight into the world of counterfeiting online. My small niche was a drop in the bucket when it came to the overall concept of criminal enforcement of IP rights as a whole. What Schornstein did was find the elite minds in the Intellectual Property world and, not just mesh their data, into a bunch of talking heads. What she did was take their information and tell a story.  Don’t just take my word for it…

Counterfeiting and piracy were once limited to T-shirts and music sold on street corners. Today, copyright owners encounter infringers more often than customers. Counterfeit goods are sold via the Internet to consumers and wind their way through supply chains into everything from cell phones to weapons platforms. Rights owners suffer brand diminution and economic loss. Counterfeits threaten public health and safety, causing unscheduled maintenance, property damage, physical injury, and even death. Some counterfeits imperil national security by jeopardizing military readiness and mission success enabling cyber espionage, while negatively impacting the safety of service members. Theft of trade secrets derails fair competition and deprives businesses of the fruits of their investments. Economic espionage can imperil national security through the compromise of military technologies.

In Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: U.S. Perspective, career federal prosecutor Sherri Schornstein demystifies the criminal legal process by guiding readers through the federal prosecution maze. She offers detailed information about criminal enforcement, including the roles of government agencies and how private industry can develop case referrals. She also provides cross-industry interviews with former high-ranking government insiders, investigators, attorneys, academics, and brand protection professionals who share experiences concerning the enforcement challenge. This book will be a valuable addition to every industry sector and a resource for those in other countries seeking to understand how the U.S. criminal justice system addresses IP crime.


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“Counterfeit Culture” Documentary Premiering Tonight

Hey gang,

You must catch this doc tonight at 9pm on CBC-TV.  It stars many of the heavy hitters in the anti-counterfeiting industry, including the legendary Lorne Lipkus.

They can brake your car or break your neck. Counterfeit car parts, including brake pads and air bags, are being installed into vehicles with potentially deadly consequences.

They can brake your car or break your neck. Counterfeit car parts, including brake pads and air bags, are being installed into vehicles with potentially deadly consequences.

Counterfeit Culture is a one-hour documentary that explores the dangerous and sometimes deadly world of fake products. An industry that once dealt in imitation designer handbags and shoes has exploded into a global epidemic of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, foods, toys, electronic goods, car parts and microchips. Astonishingly, the traffic in counterfeit goods now accounts for approximately 10% of the world’s total trade – a staggering $700 billion. And it continues to grow unabated.

Shot on location in Canada, the USA, Asia, and Europe, Counterfeit Culture challenges consumers to take a deeper look at what appear to be harmless knock-offs at bargain prices. This thought-provoking film is a compelling journey through what is now a world-wide plague, a menace that some have called the crime of the 21st century.


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Virtual Goods Are In As Physical Goods Are Slowing

This morning my wife and business partner Nastassia mentioned something while we were enjoying our morning coffee ritual.  Capital One Bank has moved into Cityville.  Yes, she plays the Zynga game Cityville on Facebook along with hundreds of millions of others, most of whom are over the age of thirty.


Ever since the initial popularity of virtual worlds like World of Warcraft, The Sims and Second Life I have anticipated that virtual goods will replace, or at least enhance, the public’s interest in designer goods in the real world.  Until these Facebook games took the world by storm, the idea of virtual gaming was only for the geeky.  The folks who enveloped themselves in a world of fictional characters and rode dragons.  But not anymore.  Now, people are growing farms, raising families, fighting mafia wars and playing poker with friends near and far.  And it’s as effortless as checking their email.  But twice as fun.  The way Cityville works, as you may figure, the player creates a working town and maintains it and builds it while their friends get points/credits for participating.  Participating can be as simple as visiting and as complicated as directing a tour bus from your town to theirs to direct revenue to your friend’s city.

Until recently, each establishment in your city would require you to choose a name for it.  For example, she added a coffee shop and called it RobBucks in honor of her Starbucks enthusiast husband.  No trademarks, just make-believe business names.  Last month she told me that Best Buy had moved into town and I, being a Best Buy enthusiast as well, got a little giddy.  These items are currently free but there are tons of items within the game that cost money.  It may cost a measly dollar to repair your car, or put on nice rims.  Perhaps an extra five dollars to buy more land.  Soon, we will be paying for Nike sneakers,  Budweiser t-shirts and MacBooks.  Don’t scoff at this.  The Chinese market alone for these types of ‘microtransactions’ has eclipsed the $10 Billion mark and the USA is right behind.

I predict that these virtual establishments will soon lead to real online shopping  outlets offering both physical and virtual goods creating revenue streams previously unimaginable.  These games will soon be creating tens of billions of dollars of advertising and sales revenue for legitimate brands.  Folks, this world is about to explode and we’re in the middle of it.  If you are a trademark geek like I am, get excited.  This is our industrial revolution.

Trademark departments… Start your engines!

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A Great Conference in NYC in September

Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York City

Image via Wikipedia

Last week I attended the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, which boasted attendance of 25,000 people in Salt Lake City, Utah.  On Day One, I was having lunch with a colleague, Andrew Love of Specialized Bicycles who was telling me of his upcoming panel at the IQPC Anti-Counterfeiting & Brand Protection Summit in New York on September 27th.  He was telling me that he is going to be presenting with representatives from DuPont and demonstrating many of the methods that fraudsters use to try to get one over on his company.  Andrew’s story is a very inspiring one.  He is a professional speed skater by trade and, like most avid winter athletes, is located in Salt Lake City.  He began working for Specialized some time ago and, through his own curiosity and need to help his customers, realized that a brand protection department was needed within his company.  Since this occurrence, Andrew single-handedly created a brand protection department at his company and is an ambassador for the entire bicycling industry in this field.  I am excited to see what he will present on his panel in NYC next month.

On Day Two, I presented on a panel with another colleague Mr. Rich Halverson who is the Unit Chief at the United States IPR Center in DC.  Over dinner later that evening, Rich was telling me of the Center’s most recent activities which included bringing on more international partners and seizures in the real and virtual worlds.  Turns out he too will be also be presenting at the IQPC Anti-Counterfeiting & Brand Protection Summit in New York on September 27th.

I’ve been a fan of IQPC and have partnered with them over the last couple of years.  I am actually a media sponsor of this particular event.  I am also a member of the great associations that support anti-counterfeiting and brand protection efforts.  This industry, and the need for this type of work, is increasing at an ever-growing speed.  I’m glad IQPC is there to pick up the slack and give these great associations the support they need.

I encourage you to check out this conference and attend.  You can click here to check it out and get 15% off as one of my readers.

Now I’m going to finish my coffee.

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Rest in Peace, My Friend

Rob Holmes in the LRG Skeleton hoody

“If wealth was measured in love we would be the richest family in the world.” ~ Jersey Joe Bevacqua.

I read this phrase when visiting a client’s office in 2006.  Let me rewind a short bit.  I met a nice young kid named Mike FitzSimons that year who retained my services to assist his company, Lifted Research Group, in its brand security issues, as it was becoming a household name and a major brand in the street wear category.

I soon thereafter drove down to their Orange County offices and was first met by a refrigerator full of Red Bull.  I was in heaven.  FitzSimons, who later became a trusted friend, told me stories about being the first ever employee of this company when he and his close friend Nick Terrio carried fabric in their cars to help their friend Jonas put together what he needed to create what they believed to be sublime human philosophy threaded in clothing form.  A company that was now in Macy’s and a making hundreds of millions per year , that Jonas and his partner Robert Wright, the founders of LRG only cared about one thing.  Love.  Threaded into clothes.  What a concept.

Over the next couple of years, I got to know others in their company and found the one word “love” ruled over all others.  Jonas was almost a decade younger than me and kind of a kid I liked protecting.  Jonas died in his sleep last night at the age of 34.  He lived life to the fullest and loved everyone.  Even those he didn’t yet know.  If someone put their arm or leg into something he conceived, his eyes teared and he loved more.

Now that he is gone all I can think of is his legacy of loving his fellow man at all cost.  Man, I don’t care if I saw Jonas high-fiving Kanye West or buying shots for his customer service reps, he was 100% love.  I might spend the next three decades learning from this kid and it will be well spent.

Learn from Jonas.  Sit down today and live today like it’s your last.  Hug somebody and tell them they mean something.  Nothing else matters.  I promise.

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Partner with IPCybercrime!

As many of you are working on your 2011 budgets, I wanted to send you a short email to remind you that IPCybercrime’s test purchase program is in full force and ready to fill your in-house needs.  Whether you are a brand owner, a law firm or an investigations agency, why not leave the buys to us so you can worry about the rest of your job?

Our purchase process is still the best in the industry, with our proprietary court-tested LITPAK® as well as our many undercover identities nationwide.  I encourage you to request a proposal, first letting us know briefly of your budget and your needs.  You will be surprised at how efficient your operation can be when utilizing us on a day-to-day basis.

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CNBC’s “Crime Inc.: Counterfeit Goods” Premiering Tonight

Fake handbags, watches, and perfumes are a way of the past. The largest underground industry in the world, Counterfeit Goods bring in hundreds of billions, while sapping the economy, putting lives in jeopardy, and funding organized crime in the process.

CNBC presents “Crime Inc.: Counterfeit Goods,” a CNBC Original reported by CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla takes viewers inside where the goods are produced and confiscated in a world of high-risk and high-reward.

The one-hour special brings you on raids with the LAPD anti-counterfeiting unit, inspections at ports, and back-room factories where counterfeits are produced. Meet a couple who was paralyzed by counterfeit Botox, a company whose whole brand was copied, and the story of a defense contractor who counterfeit defense parts that found their way into weapons depots in Iraq.

At around 7% of all global trade, Counterfeit Goods are a big business with low overhead. It makes too much money to go away any time soon.

Below is a video NBC television shot featuring me as a network lead-in to advertise for the CNBC piece:

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