One of the recommendations of the late lamented DTI’s Innovation Report of 2003 was to develop a new strategy for dealing with IP Crime. Accordingly the UK-IPO set up set up a specialist IP Crime Group in 2004 to:
– Carry out a National IP Crime Strategy and publish an Annual Enforcement Report
– Bring together government policy-makers, industry and enforcers to create a co-ordinated approach to IP enforcement
– Establish an accurate measurement of IP crime within the UK
– Identify areas of threat and specific harm
– Support training for enforcement officers and spread best practice
– Build a more consistent approach to enforcement of IP crime and
– Raise consumer awareness.
The latest annual report has now been published and it makes pretty depressing reading. Apparently The true measure of the level of IP crime within the UK or for that matter the whole of the OECD is unknown but believed to be “significant”.
The Group makes the following recommendations:
- The UK – IPO in conjunction with a new “Strategic Advisory Board for IP Policy” (SABIP) to enhance the coordination of IP related research.
- The Government (the UK-IPO) should work with IP Crime Group members to agree an accurate national standard measure of the level of IP crime, including industry revenue loss, industry profit loss, criminal market size and criminal gain.
- The Government to agree that the UK-IPO records the seizures of counterfeit and
pirated goods from all enforcement authorities and publish the results of prosecutions and Proceeds of Crime actions on an annual basis.
- The use of the Proceeds of Crime Act and Financial Investigators to be encouraged when prosecuting IP criminals.
- Members of the IP rights owning community should be encouraged to provide training and share expertise with enforcers to improve their technical knowledge and understanding of IP.
- The UK-IPO to facilitate a continuing national program of awareness raising within enforcement authorities and officials within the judicial process, with the assistance of brands and trade associations where appropriate.
- UK-IPO to develop and host a secure web-based resource that allows access by enforcers to counterfeit product identification guidelines and a contacts database listing brand protection departments and rights holders representatives’ details for use by the IP community.
- Achieve the wider dissemination of expertise and knowledge pertinent to internet investigations through delivery by the IP rights owning community across enforcement agencies and the IP Crime Group membership.
- UK-IPO to engage at corporate level with UK businesses, to ensure an understanding of the responsibilities and work programme being progressed by the UK-IPO / IP Crime Group.
Intellectual Property Crime Report 2007 IP Crime Group.
Actually if the government really wants to make a difference to IP enforcement it would extend The Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 to directors of companies that infringe intellectual property rights in the way that s.204 of the Enterprise Act 2002 penalizes directors of companies that breach national and EC competition law. I have suggested this before but nobody seems to take any notice.