Government injects millions into fighting fakes

counterfeit-jewellery.jpg

Funding goes to IP Crime unit and follows Richemont's recent ISP win.

The Government has funded £3 million to the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit to boost its fight against counterfeit goods and digital piracy.

The UK’s Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe announced the government’s funding commitment to the national crime unit at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group Conference in London. The unit has been operating for one year, with this new wave of funding covering efforts through to 2017.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: "We’ve seen significant success in PIPCU’s first year of operation. This extra support will help the unit to build on this impressive record in the fight against intellectual property crime, which costs the UK at least £1.3 billion a year in lost profits and taxes.

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“With more money now being invested in ideas than factories or machinery in the UK, it is vital that we protect creators and consumers and the UK’s economic growth.

“Government and industry must work together to give long-term support to PIPCU, so that we can strengthen the UK’s response to the blight of piracy and counterfeiters.”

Since its launch in September 2013, PIPCU has investigated more than £29 million-worth of IP crime and has suspended 2,359 internet domain names. It has seized more than £1.29 million-worth of suspected fake goods and has diverted more than five million visits to copyright-infringing websites.

City of London Police commander Steve Head, who is the also the police national coordinator for economic crime, said: “The Government committing to fund the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit until 2017 is fantastic news for the City of London Police and the Creative Industries, and very bad news for those that seek to make capital through intellectual property crime.

“Since launching a year ago, PIPCU has quickly established itself as an integral part of the national response to a problem that is costing the UK more than a billion pounds a year. Much of this success is down to PIPCU moving away from traditional policing methods and embracing new and innovative tactics, to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks responsible for causing huge damages to legitimate businesses.”

The recent IP Crime Group Report, detailing all UK enforcement activity between 2013 and 2014, highlights innovative initiatives used by PIPCU to dismantle and disrupt criminal activity.

Earlier this week, the High Court in London ruled in favour of luxury goods group Richemont, ordering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block or impede access to websites selling counterfeit goods.

The first-of-its-kind ruling followed a court battle between Richemont and five of Britain’s largest ISPs – BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and EE – who have been called upon to utilise privacy laws to take down seven websites selling products that infringe Richemont trademarks, including Cartier, Montblanc, Van Cleef & Arpels and IWC.

 

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