UK Intellectual Property Crime Unit

The UK’s Intellectual Property Crime Group (Group) was founded in 2004 by the UK Intellectual Property Office to tackle the rapid escalation of intellectual property (IP) crime in the UK. The Group brings together more than 20 members from the private sector, enforcement agencies and government departments, each focussing on a different area of crime. Amongst them are the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the Anti Counterfeiting Group (ACG).

The Group has produced a preliminary version of its annual report to show the action being taken by these various organisations to fight the proliferation of counterfeit goods.

According to the report, Interpol seized some $174m in counterfeit products across the globe in 2013, while Operation Pangea, carried out by the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency netted a record £12.2m of fake and unlicensed medicines.

The report also highlights industry initiatives to fight counterfeit products, such as removing online links leading to copyright infringement materials. A total of 1,602,483 links were removed by the Publishers Association and 720,000,000 by the British Recorded Music Industry last year, while the copyright group PRS for Music developed semi-automatic technology to locate links with musical works deemed to be infringing.

Using this technology, the group was able to successfully remove 73,333 files during 2013, embodying 2,339,118 infringed musical works, with 99.48 per cent of the files reported resulting in a successful removal.

Meanwhile, the report says that the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), based in the City of London, has also helped to suspend nearly 2,400 domains since it formed in September, while in December 2013 alone, the ACG found 3,500 groups selling counterfeit products on Facebook, with a subsequent enforcement operation removing 650 traders and 2,500 individual listings.

As is evident, the Group has made significant progress in addressing the vast areas of IP crime. The Group’s full report is to be released later this summer, including an in-depth analysis on the impact of IP crime in the UK. Most importantly, the report will endeavour to raise awareness of IP crime and to further educate users about good practice in the private sector industry.

For more information about intellectual property, speak to the intellectual property solicitors at Mackrell Turner Garrett.

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