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Reviewed 29 July 2010

Millions of fake items seized in fight against counterfeiting and piracy

A regional breakdown of the fight against piracy and counterfeiting in the UK has been revealed in a new report published today.

The annual IP (Intellectual Property) Crime Report PDF document(2.2Mb) reveals the extensive action being taken across the country and the significant collaboration between all the agencies involved in tackling intellectual property crime.

The report, which is published by the Intellectual Property Office, reveals millions of fake items were seized through operations into everything from market traders to internet auction sites.

Her Majesty Revenue Customs seized over 2100 consignments containing four million items during 2009/10. The goods had an estimated value of £40 million, based on the price of the genuine item.

The value of close co-operation was again demonstrated last week when addresses across England and Wales were raided as part of an investigation into the importation and distribution of fake branded clothing.

The raids on Wednesday 21 July followed a lengthy investigation by Rhondda Cynon Taff Trading Standards with support from other Trading Standards, police, the UK Border Agency and the IPO’s Intelligence Hub.

The various agencies were together able to track thousands of items of counterfeit goods and the raids also saw 25 kilos of Class B controlled drugs being seized.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Wilcox said:

"Counterfeiting and piracy are a major threat to the British economy. They take sales from legitimate businesses and put jobs in danger.

"Fake goods often pose a real threat to the people buying them. We have seen cigarettes with dangerous levels of chemicals, electrical goods that are a fire risk and toys that are a danger to our children.

"I am pleased to see everyone coming together: police, trading standards, industry, the Intellectual Property Office, and others to tackle this menace.

"The real key to beating this threat is the public. People must refuse to buy anything they suspect is not genuine and report the seller to their trading standards or police."

The IP Crime Report was produced by the IPO’s IP Crime Group, which consists of government, enforcement agencies and industry groups.

It highlights the wide range of fake and pirated products being sold in the UK. Over the last year, Trading Standards departments have dealt with everything from fake toothpaste to fake airplane spare parts and pesticides as well as designer goods, music and film.

The report contains figures for goods seized and activity carried out by a range of organisations across the country.

It also highlights the value of the Proceeds of Crime Act to fighting piracy and counterfeiting. The act allows enforcement agencies to apply for money made from criminal activities to be confiscated.

Kent Police secured its largest ever confiscation order after working closely with the county’s trading standards department.

The force secured a £3.2m order Guarcharan Singh, from Chatham, after he was charged with 43 counts of selling fake goods from his shop and market stall.

Giles York, IP Crime Group chairman and Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police, said:

"The fight against counterfeiting is not a fight against a Del Boy-style character on a market stall. It is a fight against organised criminal gangs who alongside counterfeit and pirated goods smuggle guns, drugs and people.

"By working together to share intelligence and develop operations – we are having a real impact. These are real crimes, committed by real criminals. We must all keep up this good work."

Notes to editors

  • The IP Crime Group was formed in 2004 by the Intellectual Property Office to bring together experts from industry, enforcement agencies and government to work together on piracy and counterfeiting issues.
  • The Intellectual Property Office is within the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills and responsible for the national framework of Intellectual Property rights, comprising patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
  • Its role is to help manage an IP system that encourages innovation and creativity, balances the needs of consumers and users, promotes strong and competitive markets and is the foundation of the knowledge based economy.
  • It operates in a national and an international environment and its work is governed by national and international law, including various international treaties relating to IP to which the United Kingdom is a party.
  • For media enquiries about the Intellectual Property Office please contact Paul Conroy on 020 7215 5303.

Date of release: 29 July 2010