Cablegate: Ipr Training for Turkish Customs: Lessons Learned

DE RUEHAK #1630/01 3171422
R 131422Z NOV 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


ANKARA 00001630 001.3 OF 003

1. Summary. Between May 2008 and September 2009, Post
provided six sessions of training for Turkish Customs on how
to recognize and seize counterfeit products, working with the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Customs and
Border Protection (CBP) on an INL-funded program. In total,
we trained 227 Turkish law enforcement officials in these
sessions. As our budget progressively shrank, we were forced
to find creative ways to stretch our training dollars,
resulting in three different training models. This cable
presents the pros and cons of each model and the lessons
learned. Finding effective local partners within the
business community can dramatically cut costs, as can
partnership with missions from other countries. While
bringing managers from different Customs posts to a central
location helps spread the message at a certain key level, it
is also possible to take the show on the road and reach out
to the actual line officers without adding substantially to
the cost of training. Hands-on training from the actual
rights holders presents a more memorable experience for the
recipients of training, and also helps rights holders
establish useful contacts with front-line inspectors. End

2. Using an INL grant of USD 47,595 for intellectual property
rights (IPR) training for Turkish Customs, Post coordinated
with the USPTO and CBP to provide six training sessions on
counterfeit goods recognition over a period of 16 months. As
the budget grew progressively smaller, we tried out various
(progressively cheaper) training models. As each set of
trainings took a different approach, this cable examines the
pros and cons of each.

Bringing Mehmet to the Mountain: Centralized Training
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. The first training program was held on May 29-30, 2008 and
brought together 38 Customs officers from across Turkey,
mainly at the managerial level. Many of the attendees were
flown into Istanbul and provided lodging at USG expense. The
training was held at a local hotel and involved two days of
presentations from USPTO and CBP officials on targeting
techniques as well as case studies on how to deal with
suspect shipments. Representatives from the private sector
also participated as observers.

4. PROS: By involving managers from across Turkey, we were
able to reach the broadest range of Customs posts at a
high-level and stress the importance of protecting IPR. The
two-day format also allowed for an in-depth review of
strategies and techniques that these managers could take back
to their posts and impart to their line officers.
Participating rights holders were able to network with
Customs officers.

5. CONS: This training session was by far the most expensive,
as we paid for the meeting facilities (including simultaneous
translation) and the lodging and transportation for many of
the participants. The total cost was approximately USD
37,400, over 3/4 of the overall budget (not counting expenses
associated with bringing experts from the U.S.), or about USD
1000 per official trained. While reaching out to managers
passed the message that IPR is important at a higher-level,
the lack of line officers meant that those most likely to use
and apply specific targeting strategies were not
participating (and their acquisition of the techniques
depended upon the managers actually taking the time to pass
along the training's lessons). Several participating
officers noted that they would have preferred more hands-on
training on specific types of products instead of the
necessarily more theoretical targeting strategies and case

Bringing the Mountain to Mehmet: On-Site Training
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. Initially, we had planned to conduct only the one training
session, but as there were still some funds remaining in the
budget -- approximately USD 10,000 -- we looked for
alternative ways to conduct additional programs. Holding
another centralized training was out of the question with the
funds available, so we tried to develop a new program that

ANKARA 00001630 002.3 OF 003

would be substantially cheaper while addressing some of the
weaknesses of the previous session. The result was a series
of one-day trainings from March 24-27, 2009, held in cities
near major Customs posts (the ports of Istanbul and Izmir and
the land border crossing into Greece and Bulgaria at Edirne).

7. The second round of trainings also involved direct
participation from USPTO and CBP officials, and reached an
additional 131 Customs line officers and local Turkish
National Police (TNP) officers with IPR responsibilities.
Unlike the earlier training, these sessions brought in active
participation by rights holders, including presentations on
specific techniques for determining the authenticity of their
goods and a hands-on "fake goods trade show" where officers
had an opportunity to compare exemplars of genuine and
counterfeit products and learn from the IPR owners how to
tell the difference.

8. To control costs, we took advantage of the fact that the
Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB - the
local equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce) is engaged in a
long-term collaboration with Turkish Customs to modernize the
service (including millions of dollars in renovation for
border posts). Recognizing the importance of this training,
TOBB agreed to provide the conference facilities of their
local chambers at no cost. In addition, at the Istanbul and
Izmir locations they agreed to provide simultaneous
translation equipment, further slashing costs. The Izmir
Chamber of Commerce also offered to provide lunch for the
Izmir training, and the American Business Forum in Turkey
(ABFT - a U.S. Chamber affiliate) stepped up to provide lunch
in Istanbul and Edirne. By leveraging these partnerships, we
were able to provide the training with little expense beyond
the travel of Embassy staff and hiring translators (plus
translation equipment for the Edirne site). USPTO again
generously covered the travel of its own staff and the CBP
participant. The cost for these three trainings came in at
just under USD 6700.

9. PROS: Obviously, the chief benefit of this model was to
provide training to a substantial number of officers for a
fraction of the cost (about USD 50 per official trained).
Bringing the training to the individual cities meant greatly
increased participation from actual line officers, imparting
effective techniques to those who will use them in their
daily work. The hands-on element of the "fake goods trade
show" was particularly effective and well-received.
Increasing the degree of involvement by interested private
sector rights holders provided them with an opportunity to
highlight the specific characteristics of their products and
to network directly with line officers. Finally, inviting
non-Customs law enforcement officials to participate, such as
the TNP, brought in new perspectives and passed the message
on to other parts of the law enforcement apparatus at no
additional cost (as described in reftels, the same TNP
officers just weeks later conducted major raids of
counterfeit pharmaceuticals, books, and CDs/DVDs.)

10. CONS: The one-day format meant less time for in-depth
examination of techniques, and the inclusion of
private-sector presentations further cut into the time
available for case studies and law enforcement-specific
discussions. The use of U.S.-based presenters required
simultaneous translation, both expensive and time-consuming.
It also required that the meetings all be held within a few
days, so some rights holders could only participate in one
session as they could not devote an entire week to traveling
around Turkey. Using borrowed facilities reduced somewhat
the ability to control circumstances, as was evident when the
Izmir Chamber of Commerce invited the press to attend the
introductory speeches (useful in raising awareness of IPR,
but requiring us to ask them to leave when more sensitive
topics began to be discussed).

Speaking Mehmet's Language: Local Training in Turkish
--------------------------------------------- --------

11. With only about USD 3200 left in the account, we were
forced to look at even further cost-cutting measures.
Recognizing that more than half of the expense of the March
trainings had been for translators and equipment, and taking
advantage of the participation of Embassy staff in those
trainings, we proposed to USPTO that we conduct the same

ANKARA 00001630 003.3 OF 003

style of training entirely in Turkish using Embassy personnel
(one FSN and one Turkish-speaking Econ officer). With USPTO
concurrence, and input from CBP in designing an appropriate
presentation, we held these trainings in the southern port
cities of Mersin and Antalya September 28-30, 2009. The
third round reached an additional 58 Customs and TNP officers.

12. The partnership of TOBB was once again essential, as they
again provided local conference facilities at no charge. New
partners also appeared out of the woodwork, a tribute to the
success of our previous programs. The Italian Consulate
General in Istanbul's IPR Desk heard of the March training
from companies that had participated and asked if they could
partner with us in the next round. They brought various
Italian companies to the September sessions, adding an EU
perspective to the discussions, and also sponsored lunch for
the Antalya program. The Turkish Trademark Association
(TMD), some of whose members had taken part in March, also
came forward and offered to pay for lunch at the Mersin
location. The only cost for these programs, therefore, was
to translate the CBP presentation and pay for Embassy staff
travel. Because Antalya and Mersin are somewhat smaller
posts and therefore have fewer officers, the cost per
official trained was comparable to the March sessions, at
around USD 50.

13. PROS: The pros of this model are similar to those
described in para 9 above. In addition, holding the session
entirely in Turkish meant there was no need to pace speech to
allow for translation. The time saved permitted us to
include even more rights holder participation (which was
handy, as the success of the previous program had led to
increased rights holder interest). The inclusion of Italian
firms also added EU perspectives and awareness of EU
regulations, useful as Turkey continues its accession talks
with the EU.

14. CONS: Embassy officers are obviously not trained Customs
professionals, and so are limited in their ability to respond
to questions on specific techniques. While increased demand
from rights holders created an agenda that focused on
everything from batteries to soap to Viagra, the more
presentations there are the less time there is for each. At
the same time, having too many presentations increases the
risk of information overload - several officers commented
that they would have preferred fewer but more detailed
presentations from rights holders.

What Mehmet Taught Us: Lessons Learned

15. Although each model has its own pros and cons, all were
successful in the main goal of passing on counterfeit goods
recognition techniques to Customs officers. The key takeaway
was that finding effective local partners within the business
community can dramatically cut costs, as can partnership with
missions from other countries. While bringing managers from
different Customs posts to a central location helped spread
the message at a certain key level, we learned that it is
also possible to take the show on the road and reach out to
the actual line officers without adding substantially to the
cost of training. Hands-on training from the actual rights
holders presented a more memorable experience for the
recipients of training, and also helped rights holders
establish useful contacts with front-line inspectors.


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