UK sets date for IP crime unit


The UK government has said a new police unit for tackling IP crimes will be ready by September this year.

A dedicated team led by the City of London police will target crimes such as online piracy and counterfeiting, and will receive about £2.5 million worth of funding from the UK Intellectual Property Office for two years.

The division was announced last year as part of a range of government measures for reducing IP infringement and updating the UK copyright system.

Commenting on the unit, IP minister Lord Younger said: “Intellectual property crime has long been a problem in the world of physical goods, but with the growing use of the Internet, online intellectual property crime is now an increasing threat to our creative industries.

“Government and our law enforcement agencies must do all they can to protect our creative industries and the integrity of consumer goods. By working with the City of London Police, who have recognised expertise in tackling economic crime, we are showing how committed this government is to supporting business and delivering economic growth.”

The new division shows the government and police’s increased commitment to tackling IP crime, said Adrian Leppard, commissioner of the City of London police.

“Together we are creating an operationally independent police unit that will co-ordinate the national and international response from law enforcement and public and private sector partners so we can effectively target those who continue to illegally profiteer on the back of others endeavours.”

Jonathan Radcliffe, partner at Mayer Brown LLP, said the move was “good news for all”.

“Organised IP infringement can really damage industries that are a vital part of the UK economy, ranging from counterfeit drugs to high-tech components through to the creative industries such as music and fashion, so this a welcome step forward in helping these businesses to thrive.”

The government estimates that about 7 million people visit sites offering illegal content every month.

This article was first published on 28 June 2013 in World IP Review

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