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It’s back to school for intellectual property crime investigators

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September 19, 2018

“Congratulations, you’re hired; and now you’re going back to school!” is the running joke when Paul Warren, director of FUSION 85©, hires a new investigator for his intellectual property crime investigative firm.

“All of our investigators were former career detectives at Scotland Yard. However, in the course of their careers, it would have been highly unusual for them to investigate intellectual property crime regularly,” explained Warren.

“We want them to have a fundamental foundation of understanding of intellectual property crime,” said Warren. “Every investigator in the company has taken the course.”

Interactive, online and beneficial

The course Warren refers to is called the International Intellectual Property Crime College or IIPCIC a fully interactive, online intellectual property crime training curriculum, created by INTERPOL in co-operation with UL. Over 16,000 people have taken the course since its inception in 2015.

“We worked closely with INTERPOL to develop the content,” said Monica Mena, senior manager for outreach and capacity building, who is part of UL’s Global Security and Brand Protection team.

“INTERPOL identified the subject matter experts, attended the initial meetings with the experts, reviewed training scripts, helped with translations into different languages, and finally, reviewed and approved all content.”

The college currently offers a curriculum of more than 22 courses in English, Spanish, French, Mandarin and Arabic—all at no charge for law enforcement. Private sector enrollees pay a course fee.

Broken down into four introductory, seven intermediate and eight advanced modules, the curriculum covers everything from “how to disrupt, dismantle and deter street level organized crime” to “digital crime scene management.”

“That’s on the money”

By the time Warren worked his way through the IIPCIC Curriculum, he had been involved in intellectual property crime investigation for 15 years.

“I would probably be doing myself an injustice to say that I could approach it with the mindset of not knowing anything...because I can’t change the experience I have. But, as I did the modules, I didn't think that the course lacked details.”

Instead, Warren said he came away thinking, “That’s on the money!”

“Most investigators spend a period of time understanding how the opposition (i.e., the criminals being investigated) conduct their business,” Warren added.

“With this course, all that knowledge has been put into one place for my investigators to learn everything about intellectual property crime.”

Good for business, too

A quick visit to the FUSION 85 “About Us” page shows the value the firm places in the course. A portion of the page reads, “FUSION 85 investigators have successfully completed a course of professional studies and hold the Interpol Intellectual Property Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC) certificate to a minimum of Intermediate standard.”

Warren views course completion as a point of differentiation when prospective clients research their investigative options.

“What it does is help demonstrate that we are a company that specializes in this field, and we take it seriously,” he said. “If you’re looking for a service provider, it might be one of the many components you look at when making your final decision. You might feel that you’re at the right place and talking to the right people.”

Final advice

For people considering taking the course, Warren offered a bit of advice.

“Don’t rush it,” he said, “and make sure you are realistic about where you need to start; that it fits your level of knowledge.”

If a participant is new to intellectual property crime, he or she might spend more time with the basic modules to establish a solid foundation.

“A participant with some knowledge can easily confirm what he or she knows. And, where one is not so well-versed, make notes to ensure the content is understood,” said Warren.

Words of wisdom not to be taken lightly. Warren, with his 34 years of investigative knowledge, knows what he’s talking about.

It’s the advice he gives his new investigators after all the joking about going back to school has run its course.

“Because it’s online, it is very easy for them to jump in and jump out of, so it works from the perspective of someone fitting in a course while working. I tell them to ‘take a couple of hours from work, have a cup of tea, and get some of the modules done because we’d like you to get that finished.’”

For more information on the International Intellectual Property Crime College, or to enroll, visit