Government committed to tackling IP crime

Posted on 12 Jun 2014 by Tim Brown

Clothing, followed by tobacco and alcohol, are the most common counterfeited items in the UK according to a new report published yesterday, detailing the extent of intellectual property (IP) crime, and the UK’s response.

The report was launched on the first day of the International IP Enforcement Summit as the Government underlined its commitment to tackling IP crime.

Opening the summit, Business Secretary Vince Cable outlined the importance of IP rich industries to the UK economy and society. Better collaboration, with industry and across borders, is a key theme of the summit on how to strengthen the fight against IP crime, estimated to account for 10 per cent of global trade.

IP Minister Lord Younger said: “The value of IP to the economy is unquestionable. The UK invests much more in knowledge and ideas than it does in assets such as buildings and machinery, and IP intensive industries account for a third of all jobs in the EU.

“The Government is committed to supporting these industries and making sure that intellectual property rights are understood and respected. Working together is the best way to tackle this issue.”

New figures published today reveal the extent of intellectual property crime activity and the UK response. A special report, published for the International IP Enforcement Summit, taking place in London over 11 and 12 June, showed:

  • the top five counterfeit products investigated by Trading Standards are clothing, tobacco, alcohol, footwear and DVDs
  • 72 million links to infringing digital material removed by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), up from 10 million in 2012/13
  • the specialist City of London IP Crime Unit is investigating nearly £30 million worth of IP crime in its first nine months

The Business Secretary also announced the strengthening of the enforcement relationship with China. Following his recent visit to Qingdao, where Dr Cable launched the Global Digital Media and Entertainment Alliance, he set out how the UK and China are working more closely to tackle intellectual property crime.

Lord Younger added: “The UK is a centre of excellence for intellectual property-rich companies and it is vital that we create the confidence for UK firms to grow overseas. Collaboration and partnership are key to that. The UK and China are working ever more closely to reduce the impact of IP crime.”

Recent initiatives have built on UK agencies’ ability to work together with counterparts in China. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO), National Crime Agency (NCA) and HMRC representatives in Beijing have helped with the training of Chinese IP enforcement officers, shared technical understanding of our respective intellectual property systems and are now exchanging intelligence. This has enabled the UK and China to work together to identify and arrest criminals operating between the two countries and to share the evidence gathered.

The summit, hosted jointly by the IPO and Office for the Harmonisation of the Internal Market (OHIM), provided a chance for more than 300 delegates from across the world to discuss best practice and collaboration to strengthen the way this global issue is addressed. Summit delegates considered how to tackle trade in counterfeit goods as well as the challenges posed by the digital world, both through illegal downloading and streaming but also from new and emerging technologies such as 3D printing.