Business Law & Compliance

Police find clever ways to crack down on intellectual property crime

3 min read

24 September 2015

Intellectual property (IP) crime is being tackled in shops, websites and local markets, according to new figures.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO), in conjunction with the IP Crime Group, said IP enforcement bodies have had huge success in tackling IP crime in many locations such as shops, social media, websites and high street markets.

It said that over the last year 11 million views from pirate websites had been diverted to official police warning pages, while 3,426 rogue websites selling luxury goods were shut down and the Border Force detained over 1.6 million IP infringing items worth over £56m.

Tobacco, clothing, alcohol, footwear and DVDs were the most frequently investigated counterfeit products, with strong links to benefit fraud, organised crime, drug dealing and violence.

The top five countries of origin for IP infringing products were Turkey, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong and India.

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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” also provided an insight into the scale and scope of counterfeiting and piracy in the UK as well as highlighting initiatives used to tackle those activities.

It said that trading standards teams across the country still found that car boot sales, street stalls and pubs and clubs were 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 of the association of Chief Police Officers IP Crime Lead and 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.”