We propose a bold next step in the evolution of the A-CAPP Center to create a transdisciplinary hub, in collaboration with our partners at MSU, and private and public sectors to address trademark counterfeiting and brand protection issues. To date, the Center has been impactful as a U.S.-based, multidisciplinary center working with external partners. We propose to expand the Center’s reach and dissolve traditional borders to achieve five key goals, to:
- expand the global reach of the Center,
- focus on the rapidly growing advancements in technology in the online space both as a tool and a threat through transdisciplinary research and education; and
- expanding outreach to consumers and other stakeholders (such as firms in high Tech industries, e-commerce, and social media) impacted by counterfeiting;
- grow student engagement as the next generation of professionals in brand protection; and
- strengthen our relationship with our partners on campus to be a leader in best practices of creating transdisciplinary, global hubs that are connected to industry.
We believe taking the A-CAPP Center beyond our current focus by adopting a global focus in a transdisciplinary way is essential as counterfeiting and brand protection are real, practical issues that have moved into the online marketplaces globally through the exponential development of new technologies and fueled by COVID-19. Gone are the days when this issue impacted only luxury brands and consumers at local flea markets.
With this expansion of the Center, we have a chance to impact not only brand protection professionals (brands, law enforcement, law firms, security providers, e-commerce platforms and more), but consumers worldwide who are now living in this easily accessible, unavoidable threat in the online space. The threat of counterfeits online is potentially one of the most disruptive and impactful areas of illicit trade globally and will continue to expand and grow in the upcoming years, impacting anyone who shops online.
Additionally, initial evidence shows that there is a disparate impact on global communities based on economic status, social status, and other characteristics, particularly when the online space is involved, influencing the need for further advancement and expansions of programs to a global level. We can help to identify and capture some of these practical solutions stemming from research that can bring together stakeholders through education and outreach in this area.
MSU is currently the leader in the US in this space of anti-counterfeiting–if funded, this proposal will expand our leadership globally and ensure that we maintain the facilitation of cutting edge research, outreach and education as technology grows, morphs, expands and people continue to get more access to products in the online space. It would also provide a model for other centers at MSU to be transdisciplinary engaged across campus tapping into our academic strengths.