New report shows successes of tackling intellectual property crime
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09 August 2011 - BIS and IPO
More people than ever before are being successfully prosecuted for
committing intellectual property crime in the UK according to a new
report published today.
Intellectual Property (IP)
crime is the counterfeiting of trade marked goods such as clothes and
the piracy of copyrighted material such as CDs and DVDs. The annual IP
report, published by the IP Crime Group, reveals the actions that are
being taken by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and partner
agencies to fight those breaking the law.
The report highlights that
75 per cent of all criminal copyright cases end in a positive
conviction. It also reveals that 80 per cent of all IP crime cases
result in guilty plea prosecutions against the defendants.
The report shows an increase
in the sale and distribution of counterfeit and pirated goods over the
internet and auction websites during the last 12 months, while there
has been a fall in IP crime at sites such as outdoor markets, although
that still remains a problem area.
Minister for Intellectual
Property Baroness Wilcox said:
“The selling of
counterfeited goods and pirated material harms the UK economy, while
some fake goods can be dangerous to unwary consumers.
“We are witnessing a wider
range of fakes including medicines, alcohol and electrical goods.
However, the Government is committed to tackling these issues. We have
a dedicated intellectual property crime team who are specialists in
providing support to partner agencies such as Trading Standards and the
“I am pleased to see a
continued, collaborative approach by Government agencies, law
enforcement and industry. We are tackling these crimes together and
this report highlights many of the successes achieved throughout the
The report lists goods
seized and activity carried out by a range of organisations across the
country. It also highlights the value of the Proceeds of Crime Act
(PoCA) to fighting piracy and counterfeiting. The Act allows
enforcement agencies to apply for money made from criminal activities
to be confiscated. A 2009 MORI poll found that over 85 per cent of
people support recovering assets from criminals.
In May 2010, London Borough
of Enfield Trading Standards secured an £11 million confiscation order,
one of the largest ever secured by a local council under PoCA. It
followed the prosecution of a local man in February 2008 after 30,000
pairs of counterfeit Burberry shoes were seized. The subsequent PoCA
investigation revealed the defendant was also involved in a £72 million
VAT Carousel fraud.
Other examples of
significant cases involving IP crime include:
- Six members of a group, who
used high-tech equipment to produce 24 fake bottles of vodka a minute,
were jailed for a combined total of 56 years in July 2010. More than
1.3 million litres of the illegal vodka was made in a warehouse in
Hackney, East London, with an estimated value of £16 million.
Confiscation proceedings are now underway.
- A graduate from London was
found guilty of breaching copyright by illegally recording films in
cinemas. A mobile phone was used to record the films which were
uploaded to the internet and made available to others to watch them or
burn them onto illegal DVDs across the world.
- Fake cigarette lighters
displaying the Olympic symbol and stating London 2012 were discovered
at car boot sales in Coventry. The London Olympic trade mark and the
symbol of the Olympic Rings are protected trade marks, and steps are
being taken to trace the supply of the lighters. Genuine London 2012
games merchandise will include a numbered holographic version of the
official logo as part of the packaging or labeling.
The IPO is committed to
improving the awareness of IP crime to businesses by providing a range
of educational tools. The IP awareness campaign is supported by a
varied programme of events, workshops and training seminars.
Giles York, IP Crime Group
chairman and Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police said:
“Intellectual property crime
is a real and serious threat to UK companies and consumers alike. This
report highlights organised criminal methodologies and the dangers
posed in fake products. The recently published IP crime strategy
outlines plans for tackling criminals, disrupting the supply of pirated
and counterfeit goods and reducing the incentives for IP crime”.
- The IP Crime Group was formed
in 2004 by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to bring together
experts from industry, enforcement agencies and government to work
together on piracy and counterfeiting issues.
- The IP Crime Report can be
found on the IPO website, www.ipo.gov.uk.
- The IPO is within the
Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills (BIS) and is
responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights,
comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
- Its role is to help manage an
IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs
of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is
the foundation of the knowledge-based economy.
- It operates in a national and
an international environment and its work is governed by national and
international law, including various international treaties relating to
Intellectual Property (IP) to which the United Kingdom is a party.
- For further information,
please contact Dan Palmer on 0207 215 5303 or e-mail
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BIS Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-08-11 16:20:15 in Legal Articles