Government targets counterfeiting and piracy with new IP crime strategy

United Kingdom

Demonstrating its commitment to tackling IP crime, the UK government has launched a national IP crime strategy. The strategy is designed to bring together government policy makers, IP owners and enforcers to create a coordinated approach to the growing problem of IP crime. The strategy was announced earlier this year as part of a series of measures to protect "creativity in the knowledge economy".

A number of factors underlie the introduction of the strategy, including:

  • the dramatic growth in counterfeiting and piracy in recent years;

  • a growing recognition of the economic impact of IP crime, with losses due to counterfeiting and piracy estimated at £10 billion and 4,000 jobs; and

  • concern at the high increase in potentially dangerous fakes entering the market (eg, counterfeit automotive parts and medicine).

The strategy will set up a number of initiatives to unite enforcement agencies, government bodies and industry members. An annual national enforcement report will be prepared, providing information on the enforcement work being carried out by major stakeholders. This report will be considered by a high-level strategic tasking and coordination group, which will set priorities for prevention and enforcement for the coming year. Two other key groups will also be established: (i) an IP crime group, which will meet every six months to discuss progress and decide best practice, and (ii) a Patent Office enforcement group, which will feed information to the strategic tasking group.

IP owners have long been lobbying for greater government support, and it is hoped that the new strategy will provide this. The government is keen for owners to review the strategy carefully and forward any comments or observations to the Patent Office.

Anna Booy and Alexandra Wenderoth, Willoughby & Partners Solicitors (Working with Rouse & Co International), Oxford

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