Coalition targets IP crime

A new coalition to tackle counterfeiting, copyright infringement and other intellectual property crime has been launched.

The measure was announced at the first International Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement Summit, held in London on 11 and 12 June. Hosted by the UK government, the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market and the European Commission, the event attracted more than 300 delegates from 30 countries.

Figures published to coincide with the event revealed the extent of intellectual property crime activity, including:

  • the specialist City of London IP Crime Unit has investigated nearly £30 million worth of IP crime in its first nine months
  • 72 million links to infringing digital material were removed by the British Phonographic Industry in 2013, up from ten million in 2012
  • the top five counterfeit products investigated by UK trading standards bodies are clothing, tobacco, alcohol, footwear and DVDs.

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.”

At the close of the summit, Lord Younger declared the next 12 months a “year of IP enforcement”, including an international commitment to maintain momentum in tackling IP crime as a global issue.

Activities for the coming year will include:

  • a review of criminal penalties for online copyright infringement to assess whether the maximum penalty of two years should be brought into line with the ten-year maximum penalty for physical infringement
  • a government review into how other countries have tackled online copyright enforcement issues, to be published in autumn 2014
  • ongoing work by the IP Crime Unit, to tackle piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods online.

Delegates also agreed to:

  • share information and identify opportunities to improve enforcement
  • share and apply best practice and the most effective tools, techniques and analysis to enhance detection and deter physical and online IP infringement
  • enhance public and private sector co-operation at international borders.

Protecting intellectual property rights is a sensible and cost-effective step through which businesses can maximise profits through licensing arrangements and ensure that others do not unfairly benefit from their bright ideas. For more information, please visit our website  or contact BJ Chong