Registration is open for the second annual Bring Down Counterfeiting Hackathon, an event that brings together individuals and teams from around the country in a competition with a vital mission—to interrupt illicit counterfeiting and trafficking—and for a chance to win $50,000 in awards.
The Schar School of Policy and Government’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at George Mason University is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center to challenge teams from academic institutions, companies, and other affiliations to design and propose novel technical and policy solutions that prevent counterfeit and pirated goods from entering the stream of commerce and reaching the hands of consumers. Strategy and analytic firm Blue Clarity returns to administer the competition.
Contestants will also be encouraged to create tools that help recognize the spoofing of official U.S. government websites, trademarks, and other services. The winning entry will win the grand prize of $20,000 for the solution a panel of expert judges select as the most effective, scalable, and creative. Other cash prizes will be awarded in a number of categories.
“Counterfeiting is a crime that affects us all. This hackathon will bring students together with policymakers, academic institutions, domain and private sector experts, and other professionals to raise awareness of the threats and generate powerful new ideas to stop this criminal activity,” said University Professor Louise Shelley, founding director of the TraCCC. “The results will also be used to inform our ongoing research on counterfeit and other criminal supply chain networks.”
This year, challenge organizers are looking for novel technical solutions, such as new technology to advance counterfeited product identification devices or advanced algorithms to secure supply chains and identify counterfeit goods. Solutions offered in the competition should have direct applicability to stated challenges that government agencies like the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and others are actively working to overcome. Last year’s winning entry, chosen from 11 finalists of 30 entries, was a search engine extension that exposed fraudulent pharmacies and disrupted the flow of counterfeit medicine in the U.S.
The contest is important—counterfeiting remains a persistent retail-industry problem around the world. Counterfeiters deprive brand owners of the value of their intellectual property, compete unfairly with honest entrepreneurs, and may place the health and safety of consumers at risk. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that pirated and counterfeit products make up 2.5 percent of world trade or roughly $464 billion a year.
This 2023 hackathon challenge launched in August and is open to anyone. Registration for the event is free.
See the Bring Down Counterfeiting 2023 Hackathon registration form for event for competition details and to register. Teams will have several weeks to learn more from an array of public and private-sector experts and stakeholders about the global scope of the counterfeiting challenge, the societal and economic risks, industry best practices, and more. Full hackathon rules, submission guidelines, and judging criteria can be found on the Bring Down Counterfeiting 2023 Hackathon registration form.
Read Mason/Amazon hackathon is a win for Mason students for last year’s inaugural hackathon results.
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