Public sector upscales effort to tackle IP crime -- and the Olympics




Fresh from their anti-piracy training in Penzance,
these policemen can even cope with full-scale
cooperation with the UK IPO ...
The UK News Distribution Service -- which still concludes its media release circulars with the ludicrous message "This communication from the NDS is confidential and copyright. Anyone coming into unauthorised possession of it should disregard its content and erase it from their records" [does no-one at the NDS read this weblog? They should have done so on 10 August] -- has just secretly and confidentially emailed the IPKat today to give him some good news:
"The Intellectual Property Office and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have joined forces to give prosecutors in England and Wales a new tool to help them tackle intellectual property (IP) crime.

... More than 350 prosecutors from the CPS are currently being specially trained to build successful cases against counterfeiters and pirates [Thank goodness! But do we know how many are currently in existence?]

The move is in line with the recently published Hargreaves review of intellectual property and growth and the Government’s IP crime strategy, which highlighted a need for a more integrated approach with partners to enforce IP rights.

Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Wilcox said:
"The initiative will give prosecutors the most up to date information so they can successfully deal with intellectual property criminals. These offences are not victimless crimes. They have a detrimental effect on consumers, businesses, the economy and growth. Consumers are likely to receive poor quality or even unsafe products that simply aren’t worth the price. 
"There are huge events coming up in the UK such as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. There will no doubt be people looking to sell counterfeit goods using trade marks associated with the games [The Olympics had to be the trigger, adds Merpel, who recalls the great praise heaped on the Chinese for stamping out counterfeits in Beijing during the 2008 Games, as well as the opporobrium heaped on them for not stamping out counterfeits everywhere else]”.



Helpful hint: real
Olympic lighters look
like this
 
Merchandise with an unauthorised London 2012 Olympic logo is already believed to be in the UK supply chain. Counterfeit cigarette lighters have been discovered at a car boot sale in the Coventry area and their source is being tracked down by Trading Standards [Apparently only a small quantity of lighters was found. Trading Standards suspects that they may be part of a larger consignment. Well, says Merpel, they are unlikely to be a limited-edtition collectors' special ...].

...  more needs to be done to tackle the criminals who cheat consumers into buying fake goods online at auction websites for example. The training includes a module for prosecutors specifically about these crimes. This will help the CPS tackle emerging threats to businesses and consumers online.

Anyone found guilty of offences under the Trade Mark Act 1994 or the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 could face a 10 year prison sentence and/or a fine. In addition, the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA) allows criminals’ gains from counterfeiting and piracy to be confiscated".
The IPKat welcomes this development. Apart from protecting consumers against (i) the danger of poorly-made and often dangerous fakes and (ii) their own greed, it sends out a message to brand owners and legitimate traders that perhaps they are not alone after all.  Merpel wonders out loud, recalling a once-popular song with the line "Will you still love me tomorrow?" Will public sector determination to stamp out IP crime last, or will it fade after the Olympic circus leaves town?

"Will you still love me tomorrow?" here and (if you can take it from the Shirelles) here

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