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UK Publishes Annual IP Crime Report

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com

13 December 2007


The UK Intellectual Property Office on Wednesday announced the publication of the Annual IP Crime Report, which aims to establish an accurate measurement of IP crime within the UK.

The document sets out the range of activities undertaken by police, trading standards, other government agencies and industry to tackle the threat posed by IP Crime, and aims to identify specific areas of threat and specific harm, and set out plans for future work to ensure that IP crime is not seen as a soft-crime, and that effective action is taken against the organised criminals who operate in this field.

According to the report, fake products abound in almost all industry sectors including designer fashion, luxury goods, electrical equipment, audio visual, toys, games, drinks, cigarettes, pharmaceutical products and automotive parts.

The report went on to suggest that the range of goods being copied and illegally reproduced is growing, extending to such diverse products as counterfeit razor blades, motorbikes and crane spare parts.

It went on to highlight that IP crime has a multitude of undesirable effects throughout the UK, explaining that:

"There is the immediate consequence of a serious threat to consumer safety, where goods have not undergone product safety
testing. Indeed, the Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has recalled five different pharmaceutical products in the UK in 2007. These items ranged from toothpaste to drugs used in treating cancer."

The report continued:

"The secondary consequences are no less important but perhaps are not recognised as having the same immediate impact as the consumer harm problem. Both the UK economy and businesses are suffering. The seriousness of this impact should not be underestimated."

Touching on the impact of such crime on local communities, it went on to observe that:

"There is also the loss of revenue to Government in taxes. This is difficult to quantify, but tax losses range from corporate tax to VAT and excise duties on alcohol and cigarettes."

"In 2006 Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs reports that an estimate of 2 billion cigarettes were counterfeit and that the total trade of 18.5 billion non-UK duty paid cigarettes cost the taxpayer GBP2.9 billion."


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