50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises an investigation lead in the Spanish National Police
The investigation lead at the Spanish National Police asked to remain anonymous
Counterfeiting techniques are rapidly evolving in the digital age, putting pressure on the authorities to keep up.
In Spain, at least, they’ve shown they’re up to the job.
In October, Managing IP reported on how the anti-piracy unit of the Spanish National Police busted a counterfeiting ring that was using so-called ‘hidden links’ to flog fake merchandise.
The counterfeit scheme involved social media adverts for counterfeit products. Links would take consumers to listings of entirely different unbranded and non-counterfeit infringing products on e-commerce websites.
After the buyers made their purchases, they received the originally advertised counterfeits they saw on social media.
Police made six arrests after a lengthy operation, which was one of the first investigations of its kind on this latest type of counterfeiting scheme.
The authorities uncovered three social media groups, each with more than 40,000 members and more than 30 different links to e-commerce websites selling thousands of counterfeit luxury brands.
The operation was a testament to the challenge facing police when it came to the changing face of counterfeiting, the head of the investigation told Managing IP in October.
She was speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of her work.
“It is a job that combines police investigation on networks and the internet with a traditional police investigation, such as requests for warrants and surveillance,” she said.
“The collaboration and involvement on the part of the Spanish justice system has been exemplary, especially considering the difficulty of the investigation,” she added.