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Combatting Counterfeiting with Intelligence Initiatives

05 May 2023

Here at the ACG, we pride ourselves on our strategic partnerships and collaboration with the intelligence community to combat counterfeiting crime. Learn more about Matthew Knowles and his role as the ACG’s Intelligence and Strategic Initiatives Manager.


What is your background in IP crime? 

I was previously a Trading Standards Officer, Financial Investigator, and Manager of Trading Standards and Financial Investigations teams in Bedfordshire and East Sussex. I led on a range of IP crime investigations and initiatives during this time but it wasn’t until I undertook contracts for Camden and Manchester Trading Standards, and coordinated the NTS and  IPO self-storage project, that I became immersed in the subject and wanted to study it in greater depth. I later completed my MSc dissertation on IP Crime in Strangeways, so being involved in Operation Vulcan, even in a minor role has been really interesting.   


What have been your highlights in your first six months at the ACG?

My main highlight is the opportunities this role brings to engage and learn from a much wider range of stakeholders and industry experts from across the globe. Viewing and understanding the problem from an industry perspective properly for the first time has been really useful. Developing existing and new working relationships with key partners has also been a real pleasure. I’m also very aware of the resource constraints faced by Trading Standards, so the opportunity to assist them with collating intelligence or arranging logistical support is rewarding. Playing a minor role in the success of Operation Vulcan, by setting up the rapid response group and producing industry loss statements has been great. Visiting Belfast and sharing a pint of Guinness with the PSNI team is also a memorable experience.  


What do you hope to achieve for the rest of 2023?

I really appreciate the guidance from the newly named Intelligence and Enforcement steering committee, so I can be tasked with actions that tackle the most pressing online and physical threats faced by our members. If you have not joined already, please do as we really value your input. We are so fortunate that our members have such an incredible breadth of knowledge from a diverse range of industries that we can draw upon. In 2023 we want to develop our work with our central contacts at Border Force, to increase awareness and detentions. We want to increase engagement with online platforms and replicate something similar to the UNIFAB online watchlist, as well as engage with instant messaging providers to identify intervention opportunities. Our recent members' survey identified courier and financial services as key sectors to increase engagement with, so this is something we want to progress. We want to continue to promote law enforcement action against counterfeiters by offering industry intelligence and logistical support if required.



About ACG

ACG represents more than 3,000 brands affected by this influx of fakes into the UK and delivers an international network of information, advice and contacts on all aspects of IP protection. Working with Government and law enforcement agencies since 1980, ACG is focused on providing an effective and sustained response to counterfeiting.

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