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UL: taking on the counterfeiters


UL: taking on the counterfeiters

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Certification company UL employs a number of methods to fight criminal counterfeiters, as Terrence Brady told WIPR ahead of the International Trademark Association’s annual meeting in Orlando from May 21 to 25.

How does UL help companies protect their IP? 

UL brings a sophisticated, multi-faceted approach to brand protection across the entire supply chain to protect the integrity of the UL family of marks, stop counterfeiters and enhance the safety of consumers around the world. Our global team of experts investigates allegations of non-compliance, counterfeiting, misleading advertising and misuse of the UL brand.

We review the concern, conduct an investigation, identify the root cause, and take appropriate action to resolve the issue, all with the aim of protecting the public and sustaining confidence in the UL brand. Just as important, we help our customers, regulators and law enforcement organisations strengthen their own capabilities in combating counterfeiting and reducing product hazards.

Are UL’s anti-counterfeiting services valuable to its customers?

UL has invested in building a dedicated global security and brand protection (GSBP) programme. For 20 years, our GSBP team has worked with global law enforcement and other stakeholders to protect the integrity of the UL brand and to help combat intellectual property crime on a global basis. We work with our customers to conduct joint investigations and offer guidance to customers and regulators on developing systems for collecting and investigating product incident reports including collecting data, assessing hazards and implementing corrective actions.

Misuse of the UL mark and misleading statements about UL on websites and in advertisements undermine the investment of our customers in communicating their UL credentials to the marketplace. We address these situations to help protect the UL brand and maintain the positive impact of our customers’ legitimate advertising.

Why is UL so committed to fighting the crime of counterfeiting?

Manufacturers, distributors, retailers, consumers and regulators have come to rely on the family of UL marks as a symbol of safety. We take that responsibility very seriously. We believe that removing potentially hazardous products from the stream of commerce directly supports UL’s mission of ‘working for a safer world’. Counterfeiting is a serious crime the proceeds of which have been linked to the funding of other criminal activities, including terrorism. This is not a victimless crime and UL is committed to investing in educational opportunities and global partnerships to educate all stakeholders and consumers on the health and safety consequences of this crime. 

What are the key challenges that UL addresses that are applicable to law firms or departments and brands?

UL is a symbol of trust and we take that very seriously. UL’s business is to help our customers navigate the growing complexities across the supply chain—from compliance and regulatory issues to trade challenges and market access. We are proud that the UL mark on a product means that test samples of a product have successfully met UL’s high standards after rigorous testing and evaluation.

“UL’s anti-counterfeiting efforts aim to shield consumers from the hazards of counterfeit products, to preserve the integrity of our mark and to assist legitimate manufacturers in protecting their brands.”

In addition, we protect our mark after it is put on your product through a comprehensive programme that coordinates the efforts of law enforcement agencies around the world. We aim to shield consumers from the hazards of counterfeit products, to preserve the integrity of our mark and to assist legitimate manufacturers in protecting their brands.

Why has UL chosen to participate in the INTA conference this year and in INTA’s anti-counterfeiting day on May 21? 

When INTA approached us to help organise a panel for its first anti-counterfeiting day event, we were honoured. Raising global awareness of the health and safety consequences that counterfeiting poses to the public, brands and economies has been a large part of our mission for the last 20 years.

INTA is an internationally respected organisation with more than 10,000 international members. It provides a powerful stage to meet and discuss such important issues with a large and influential group of international policy makers and practitioners. Our UL attorneys have been members of INTA for many years and have always attended the INTA conference. It was not a difficult decision for UL as company to make when we decided to join INTA’s anti-counterfeiting day and participate in the entire week of activities.  

What is the IP Crime Investigators College?

UL is very proud to work with global law enforcement agencies, including Interpol, on a number of educational initiatives such as the International IP Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC). IIPCIC is an Interpol initiative delivered in cooperation with UL whose mission is to create a basic standard of knowledge about the nature and consequences of IP crime across professionals working in this area around the world.

Introductory and intermediate level curriculum is available to all law enforcement officers at no cost to them or their departments. Courses are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, French and soon Portuguese to reach the largest global audience of IP crime professionals.

Brand owners are also able to create customised courses about their brands and deliver them to the 10,000 law enforcement officers who are currently registered on the IIPCIC learning platform.

What does success look like for the college? What are you aiming to achieve?

IIPCIC’s mission is to become the platform of choice for all stakeholders in the fight against counterfeiting to receive education and share knowledge. Counterfeiting is a transnational crime and all stakeholders need to communicate and cooperate in order to stem the flow of potentially dangerous goods and also attack this source of funding for other crimes.  

This is a project that UL truly believes in as it is delivering essential IP crime education to all law enforcement officers around the world and creating a common language and level of understanding about this crime. It is a game-changer.

IIPCIC brings this world-class education directly to law enforcement officers in their language and it’s available to them when they need it. It is developed in partnership with the top global law enforcement organisations to effectively equip investigators with the skills and knowledge necessary to combat transnational IP crime.

IIPCIC is launching a new curriculum specifically for customs officers this year and as we all know they play a critical role in securing supply chains and identifying counterfeit products before they reach the stream of commerce.

What advice would you give brand owners looking to navigate international markets?

The global network and compliance expertise of UL can help manufacturers navigate through specific national and regional standards requirements. We can facilitate your market compliance by bundling the desired product testing and certification marks for all requirements and target markets. We call this approach global market access and it saves our customers time and money while providing faster access to your target market.




Terrence Brady is chief commercial and legal officer for UL, a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions. He has experience in legal, compliance, government affairs and strategy functions. He worked in the Chicago office of Winston & Strawn for 27 years and attended Dartmouth College and Notre Dame Law School. www.ul.com



Terrence Brady, UL, counterfeit, brand, trademark, GSBP, INTA conference, IP crime,


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