Sponsored by GMUTerrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC)US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center

How can we combat the counterfeit trade?

First SUbmission

September 29, 2023

Virtual Work Session (Optional)

October 5, 2023

final submission

October 29, 2023


November 4, 2023



The Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC), a research center within George Mason University (GMU), has partnered with private sector and US government organizations to crowdsource novel proposals aimed at disrupting trade in counterfeit goods. The best submissions will be practical, implementable, scalable, and demonstrable (i.e., using real-world data). Winning submissions must have direct applicability to stated challenges that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and other U.S. governmental agencies are actively working to overcome.
Bring Down Counterfeiting 2023 is asking you to prototype solutions that enable more effective public-private partnerships to facilitate or enhance data sharing and operational cooperation among the private sector and U.S. governmental agencies in the fight against counterfeit goods. We would like to challenge solvers to help us develop strategies to identify and counter new and existing trends in counterfeiting and piracy.

While any solution that directly addresses the statement above are acceptable, we are specifically interested in: 


The Problem of Counterfeit Goods
Product counterfeiting is a form of illicit trade representing a significant challenge harming brand owners, entrepreneurs, consumers, and the global economy as a whole. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that pirated and counterfeit goods represent 2.5 percent of world trade—that’s $464 billion a year, reaching roughly the value of the gross domestic product of the country of Norway (The World Bank, 2021). Counterfeiters create unfair competition for legitimate businesses, hamper economic growth and erode social conditions. They are criminals that may also be associated with transnational criminal networks involved in multiple illicit trade forms including trafficking in narcotics, arms, persons, and wildlife. The circulation of counterfeit goods around the world also has deathful impacts on human health, collective and individual safety, and the environment. The manufacture, use, and disposal of counterfeited goods create harm due to the use of hazardous materials, lack of safety controls, and their large volume and diverse nature. 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 have facilitated the expansion of illicit trade of counterfeit goods.
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 have facilitated the expansion of illicit trade of counterfeit goods. Counterfeiters take advantage of the internet openness to access global markets with minimal risk of detection and relatively low penalties. They are becoming increasingly technologically savvy to evade detection, authentication controls, or supply chain tracking systems.  Combating illicit trade of counterfeit goods requires adaptable, multilingual, and multidisciplinary teams comprising experts from the public and private sectors, academia, law enforcement, and technology fields. Collaboration and the use of innovative tools to identify key nodes of global criminal networks, and the expertise in other areas (AI/AML) and protection of intellectual property (IP) rights can be positively impactful. Among them, data mining and analysis, machine learning, education and awareness programs can make huge in-roads in detecting counterfeits and disrupting supply chains.
Women shopping online on her couchWoman taking new headphones out of their box
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Registration and Teaming

You must register to participate in this hackathon. Upon registration, you will be added to our Slack space. 


Shopping cart with boxes in them.U.S. Customs and boarder patrol table with items on it.
Photo Credit: Left: Shutterstock, Right: U.S. Department of Homeland Security


Grand Prize


Best Overall Solution
Student Prize


CINA Follow-on Research Project Prize


in research funding
Additional Best in Class Prizes & Honorable Mentions


(Subject to change)

September 2023

September 11, 2023

Virtual Kick Off Event*
Watch the Kickoff Video

September 29, 2023

First Submission Due

October 2023

October 3, 2023

USPTO Roundtable
(In-person/virtual | Alexandria, VA)
Register Here

October 5, 2023

Virtual Work Session hosted by TraCCC*

October 29, 2023

Final Submission Due

November 2023

November 4, 2023

Demo Day*
(In-person/virtual | Arlington, VA)

*Details about virtual and in-person events will be provided to registered participants.

Submissions RULES

First Submission
Final Submission
  • Due: October 29, 2023. 11:59 pm EST
  • The Final Submission must consist of the following components. (See instructions below)


Submissions will be judged on the following criteria

Additional Details


Is the First Submission mandatory? Can it be submitted late?
Is the October 5 Work Session mandatory?
Who will be at the October 5 Work Session in terms of mentors?
What will the content of that Work Session be?
Where is the form for the First Submission?
Can we still get help from a mentor if we don’t attend on Oct 5?
What is Slack? Do I have to join it? 
Will all teams present on Demo Day? 
When will prize winners be decided? 
What is the CINA Follow-on research prize?


George Mason University
Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center
International Coalition Against Illicit Economies
Anti-Illicit Trade Institute
Anti-Illicit Trade Institute
Criminal Investigations and Network Analysis
Mapbox Logo
Mapbox Logo
Institute for Digital InnovAtion


If you have any inquiries about participating in this competition, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at expeditionhacks@blueclarity.io.