The Department for Business Innovation & Skills says a new report shows that measures to tackle intellectual property (IP) crime have been successful in reducing IP crime.
The latest annual IP Crime Group Report shows the number of IP crime reported to Crimestoppers in 2014-2015 fell. Intellectual property enforcement bodies have had success tackling IP crime in many areas, the report states –
and particularly in markets, where counterfeit goods such as clothing, CDs or DVD might be sold.
Intentionally copying a design now carries a maximum prison sentence of up to ten years.
Law enforcement agencies say that tobacco, clothing, alcohol, footwear and DVDs are still the most frequently investigated counterfeit products – and there are also strong links between benefit fraud, organised crime, drug dealing, violence and IP crime.
Key anti-IP theft operations and partnerships which have delivered results in 2014-15 include an initiative by the National Markets Group’s Real Deal, leading to the seizure of more than 30,000 counterfeit items.
Nearly 400 markets have signed up to the Real Deal Charter, which commits to tackling the sale of counterfeit goods on market stalls.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Group has also worked with 40 Trading Standards Authorities and 13 Police Forces throughout the UK to tackle local IP hot spots.
The Police Intellectual Crime Unit (PIPCU) funded by IPO has also run Operation Creative – a groundbreaking approach to tackling IP Crime, by disrupting and preventing websites from providing unauthorised access to content which is copyrighted.
The IPO and the Food Standards Agency’s Operation OPSON, which deals with counterfeit and substandard food, has also grown into a partnership with almost 50 other countries, the report says.
Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, said:
“IP Crime is not victimless. It includes the public buying counterfeit alcohol and cigarettes, which can even be fatal.
“Some car boot sales and markets can be crime hot spots – and we have seen growth in counterfeit goods being sold on social media.
“The IP Crime Group report raises awareness of the dangers and consequences of counterfeiting and copyright infringement. I am grateful to the group for its good work.”
Association of Chief Police Officers IP Crime Lead and Sussex Police Chief Constable, Giles York, added:
“Co-ordinated action is the key to tackling IP Crime.
“By working together, the IP Crime Group continues to bring focus and determination into the fight against IP crime, and this report shows the welcome effect that is having.
“There are many challenges ahead, particularly in tackling the online sale of counterfeit goods – but we hope that next year will bring even more success in reducing this problem.”
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