The number of intellectual property (IP) crimes reported to Crimestoppers over the last year has fallen, according to the latest figures published today.
The figures released by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), in conjunction with the IP Crime Group, show intellectual property enforcement bodies have had success tackling IP crime in many areas, and particularly in markets.
Tobacco, clothing, alcohol, footwear and DVDs are still the most frequently investigated counterfeit products, with strong links to benefit fraud, organised crime, drug dealing and violence.
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.
The IP Crime Report 2014/15 provides an insight into the scale and scope of counterfeiting and piracy in the UK as well as highlighting initiatives used to tackle those activities.
Trading Standards teams across the country still find that car boot sales, street stalls and pubs and clubs are hotspots for IP crime. There has been an increase in the investigation of counterfeit sales on social media and a growth in the sales of high value counterfeits such as handbags, watches and electrical items. Over half of all Trading Standards authorities have found IP infringing activities operating out of private residences.
Giles York, Association of Chief Police Officers IP Crime Lead & Sussex Police Chief Constable 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.
Notes to Editors:
- The IP Crime Report, published annually, is based on the work of the IP Crime Group – a cohort of representatives from industry, law enforcement agencies and government departments.
- A copy of the Annual IP Crime report: 2014 to 2015 is available.
- A copy of the IP Crime highlight report: 2014 to 2015 is available.
- The key operations and partnerships that have delivered great results in 2014-15 include:
- the National Markets Group’s Real Deal initiative has led to the seizure of over 30,000 counterfeit items and near 400 markets have signed up to the Real Deal Charter that commits to tackling the sale of counterfeit goods on market stalls
- the Anti-Counterfeiting Group has 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) has run Operation Creative – a ground breaking approach to tackling IP Crime by disrupting and preventing websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content. PIPCU is funded by the IPO
- trade body BPI took action against Dancing Jesus, jailing two individuals behind an online forum giving access to tens of thousands of illegal links to music
- FACT’s action against illegal pay TV services has increased substantially, now making up 18% of their investigations
- the IPO and Food Standards Agency’s Operation OPSON, Dealing with fake and substandard food, has grown into a partnership with almost 50 other countries
- law enforcement and the advertising industry are working together on the Infringing Website List to remove advertising from the most infringing websites
PIPCU has been successful in diverting views from copyright infringing websites. From July 2014 to June 2015, over 11 million website views were successfully diverted to a police warning page