Blue Clarity | ExpeditionHacks | Bring Down Counterfeiting 2022: Policy Hackathon
A challenge to present solutions that enhance, or overcome policy blockers (legal, regulatory, administrative) to effective public-private collaboration in the fight against counterfeiting. Ideas that enhance data sharing and operational collaboration among the private-sector and state, local, and federal law enforcement entities are of particular interest in this event.
ExpeditionHacks, developers, entrepreneurs, Business, counterfeiting, anti-counterfeiting
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Bring Down Counterfeiting 2022: Policy Hackathon presented by Amazon, George Mason University and TraCCC

Bring Down Counterfeiting 2022:

Policy Hackathon

August 5 – November 5, 2022

Register Now!


Registration for this challenge is closed.
Registration for this challenge is closed. Please note the deadline for submissions is Thursday, Oct 13, 5 pm EST. Late submissions will not be accepted.

The Background

Counterfeiting is an industry-wide, global issue, that affects all retail channels. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that pirated and counterfeit products make up 2.5 percent of world trade—that’s $464 billion a year, or roughly the gross domestic product of the country of Belgium. Counterfeiters deprive brand owners of the value of their intellectual property and compete unfairly with honest entrepreneurs. They are criminals that may also be associated with transnational networks engaged in a wide range of illicit behavior, including trafficking  in narcotics, arms, persons, and wildlife. Billions of dollars from these activities flow through the global economy each year, distorting local economies, diminishing legitimate business revenues, eroding social conditions, harming public safety and security, and fueling conflict.

The Internet has provided new opportunities and mechanisms for trading goods and services via e-commerce. At the same time, the openness of the Internet and the anonymity that surrounds many online transactions also make it attractive to counterfeiters, providing them with easy access to markets, with low risk of detection and, if caught, relatively low penalties in many jurisdictions. As highlighted by OECD research, in many jurisdictions “counterfeiting goes largely unpunished due to difficulties in coordinating effective responses and perceptions that these are ‘victimless’ crimes that do not warrant significant action,” among other challenges. Combating these crimes takes agile, multilateral, multidisciplinary teams using a full range of innovative tools. Cross-domain experts from government, industry, law enforcement, and social sciences together with technologists specializing in data mining and analysis, AI/ML, IP rights or other areas can make huge in-roads in detecting counterfeits and disrupting supply chains.

The Challenge

We challenge you to present a solution that enhances, or overcomes policy blockers (legal, regulatory, administrative) to effective public-private collaboration in the fight against counterfeiting. Ideas that enhance data sharing and operational collaboration among the private-sector and state, local, and federal law enforcement entities are of particular interest in this event. The results of this policy hackathon will provide input for a technology-focused follow up challenge.

Questions to consider might include:

  • What mechanisms (legal, policy, technical) would enable faster and more effective public and private sector information-sharing and collaboration on this issue? For example-
    • Sharing information on the identification of new and emerging schemes to stay ahead of criminals involved in the trade of counterfeits
    • Connecting information about counterfeiters / related networks among federal, state, and local law enforcement in the US and globally to support investigations and successful prosecutions
  • How can we increase transparency across supply chains to make it easier to identify the movement of counterfeit goods or counterfeit parts of goods?
    • What tools could be developed for use by law enforcement authorities to identify counterfeits before they reach consumers or sale points?
    • How can mapping or other data visualizations of related data (e.g. supply chains) be used in this fight?
  • How can we protect consumer safety through more proactive actions against counterfeiters?
Counterfeit items seized by

Photo Credit: Top: Shutterstock, Middle: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bottom:, Defense Visual Information Distribution Service


  • Teams can consist of up to five members. EVERY team member must register for the event.
  • Teams can be based anywhere in the world. Please note the scheduled live event times are in U.S. Eastern Time (GMT-04:00)
  • Entries submitted by employees of sponsoring companies or organizations will not be judged by a judge from the same company or organization.
  • Participants under the age of 18 will be required to complete a simple permission form to participate. Participants must be at least 13 years of age.
  • Participants are encouraged to find complementary skills in our dedicated Slack channel. You can find policy gurus, techies, businesses, and innovators to fill gaps on your team!


  • Mentors will be available for teams that desire to consult with subject matter experts in anti-counterfeiting legal and enforcement regimes in the United States, technology, product development, and other areas.
  • The mentor’s role is to offer feedback and advice; mentors are not project leads. Team submissions should be driven by the team members from conception to completion.

Kick Off Guest Speakers

Senior Economist Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Event Keynote


Piotr Stryszowski

Senior Economist

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Kari Kammel

Panel Moderator


Kari Kammel

Director & Senior Academic Specialist

Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection, Michigan State University

Senior Corporate Counsel Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit

Event Panelist


Joe Wheatley

Senior Corporate Counsel

Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit

Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Professor of Public Policy; Director

Event Panelist


Louise Shelley

Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Professor of Public Policy; Director

Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, George Mason University

Demo Day Speakers

“The problem of counterfeits is a massive problem with serious consequences that deserves more attention from academia.  George Mason University is thrilled to host this policy hackathon which represents a collaborative effort across the GMU campus and with numerous and diverse organizations across the US.”

Dr. Gregory Washington

President of GMU



Dr. Gregory Washington


George Mason University

Sec of State Elaine Marshall Picture

Demo Day Keynote


Elaine F. Marshall

Secretary of State

North Carolina Secretary of State

Jose Santiago

Demo Day Keynote


José F. Santiago

Strategic Division

US Council on Transnational Organized Crime (USCTOC)


Schedule Timeline


  • Check your Onboarding packet that came with your registration confirmation for more details, such as how to stay engaged and how to submit your solution.
  • Teams can use their own research. Solutions must be their own original ideas.
  • Teams must be registered (check timeline above) to qualify their submission for review.
  • The demonstration on November 5 will be in-person but reasonable accommodations will be made for teams that cannot be in-person. Instructions will be sent to the top teams to make those arrangements.
  • These rules are subject to change.


Submissions must reflect the original work of the project team alone and must consist of the following components:

  • Written concept paper (up to 5 pages) outlining Policy/Business Idea
    • Template available here (PDF | Word
  • Written application via DevPost outlining Prototype idea
  • Video pitch of prototype* demo (no more than 3 minutes)

* A prototype should demonstrate the idea and how it works. It is a visual representation and should be functional in the sense that it might be clickable but does not require a database. It should NOT be a set of slides. Teams do not need to submit code but can if they desire to do so. A separate Slack channel will be provided for prototyping tips and suggestions for tools.

**Submissions must be in English


Submissions will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Impact: How impactful could this solution be to U.S. law enforcement at the state, local, or federal levels or to private-sector entities engaged in this fight against counterfeiting?
  • Scalability: What is the potential for scalability? How costly would this solution be to bring to scale? Could it be accomplished under current authorities and resources or would it require new legislation and appropriations?
  • Creativity: How original is this solution? Does it set itself apart from existing solutions? Does it demonstrate outside-the-box thinking?
  • Design: Is this solution thoughtful and complete? Is the strategy appropriate?



Tania Maestas

Tania Maestas

Deputy Director and General Counsel

Attorney General Alliance

Caridad Berdut Profile Picture

Caridad Berdut

Principal Counsel and Director for
IP Enforcement Policy

United States Patent and Trademark Office


In Association With

National Intellectual Property Rights Logo


Projects will be evaluated based on the criteria outlined above. Winning teams must designate one team member who is able to receive the prize(s) on behalf of the team. This team member must be able to complete an IRS Form W-9 in order to receive a cash prize on behalf of the team. If a team member is a minor, a parent may complete the form on behalf of the team member.

All prizes are subject to change.

The prize pool has expanded!

Grand Prize


Winner: HyperCube

Crowdsource Prize


Winner: G.I.N

Student Prize


CINA Follow-on Research Project Prize



Participants are permitted to use any commercially known open source tools. Participants are also encouraged to use their own proprietary solutions to develop creative and efficient products. If you are representing a company, your company’s proprietary software assets are also allowed to be used with the appropriate permission from your organization. Please reference the Terms and Conditions to confirm that all IP rights remain with the participant and/or the organization they are representing.


All participants must agree to the Terms and Conditions listed.


Does a team need to be present in-person for Demo Day?

Teams that are selected to present their solutions on Demo Day should be prepared to present live for the judges on that day at the designated time. Teams that are not in the Washington D.C. area can join by video conference.

Will travel funds be provided for teams selected to present at Demo Days?

No, travel funds cannot be provided due to funding restraints. Teams that are not in the Washington D.C. area can join by video conference.

How long will Demo Day presentations be?

A select number of teams will be invited to present their solutions to the judging panel. Each team will have a set number of minutes to present, followed by a short Q&A. Your team’s recorded video pitch may be included as part of your presentation but is not required. The exact number of minutes for Demo Day presentations will be shared with the selected teams before Demo Day.