Plans for an informal network of organisations from various countries in the consumer field involved primarily with the enforcement of fair trading practices emerged in 1991 on the initiative of the Danish Consumer Ombudsman. The network’s purpose would be to find ways of co-operating on tackling consumer problems connected with cross-border transactions in both goods and services, and to help ensure exchanges of information among the participants.
Following up on that initiative, participants at a 1992 meeting in London hosted by UK's Office of Fair Trading agreed to a Memorandum on the Establishment and Operation of the ICPEN (the "ICPEN MOU") which formally established the International Marketing Supervision Network.
To better reflect the work of the Network, at a meeting held in Sydney in September 2002 the name of the Network was changed to the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN). The ICPEN MOU has also been amended a few times since 1992.
The most recent ICPEN Memorandum of Understanding was agreed to in 2006.