76 pages long, the 2008/9 IP Crime Report, published online by the Intellectual Property Office for the United Kingdom, is an impressive read; there are plenty of statistics at the back too. If you don't want to be impressed, or don't have the time to be impressed, you can read the IPO's press release instead.
"Partnership work and shared intelligence is key [or should that be "are key"? The poor Kats can never remember] to combating IP crime
The Enforcement community and Industry are reaping the rewards of improved knowledge of IP crime and offenders thanks to the ‘Intelligence Hub’ created by the Intellectual Property Office to support a more targeted approach to operations.
The Intellectual Property Crime Group 2008/2009 IP Crime Report ... highlighted intelligence sharing as being one of the most effective and sustainable ways of tackling IP crime.
To facilitate a coordinated approach and the sharing of information to help address IP Crime, the Intellectual Property Office launched an IP crime strategy in 2004. This included the establishment of the IP Crime Group and outlined the development of an Intellectual Property Office led intelligence hub, working with those agencies leading the way in targeting those involved with IP crime.
The hub has received more than 2,000 intelligence reports since the beginning of 2009; a 120% increase in the same period for 2008 [meaning, from when to when? Also, this suggests rather that figures for 2008 must have been lousy, since 2,000+ intelligence reports doesn't sound like very many when contrasted with the victim estimates of the scale of IP crime]. This vast increase is attributed to the renewed partnerships that have been made with enforcement agencies such as the police and trading standards.
Commenting on the report Mr Lammy said: “... The UK is not alone in the fight [Indeed not! The IP criminals would be in a bad way if they only had the Brits to exploit]. IP crime is a serious global issue. The OECD estimates that the global trade in counterfeit and pirated products seized across national borders is worth around US$200 billion – higher than the GDP of 150 countries [or a good deal less than it has cost the British government to bail out its banks]. This figure continues to increase and doesn’t even include goods produced and consumed domestically.”
The Intellectual Property Office has also recently been awarded competent authority status which enables increased collaboration and intelligence sharing with enforcement agencies in different countries via Europol which will enable IP crime to be tackled further.
However, although progress has been made in combating some of the serious issues of IP Crime, it still poses a serious threat to businesses and consumers. The Rogers Review estimated that criminal gain from IP crime in the UK was £1.3 billion in 2006 with £900 million of this flowing to organised crime. Many believe that today the actual figure is far higher.
Giles York, Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police and Chair of the IP Crime Group said: “This latest report clearly shows that IP crime represents a significant threat to UK businesses and consumers [did we never know this before]. ...
The IP Crime Group, which was created in 2004 as a result of the IP Crime Strategy [is this repetition, or is the Kat just suffering from deja-vu?], brought together all the key players [ah, pianists!] in order to set priorities and coordinate activity. The current Group brings together representatives from government, industry and enforcement agencies. The aim of the IP Crime group is to discuss cross-cutting policy issues, raise awareness of IP crime and identify and disseminate best practice".The IPKat would really like to know how many of the 2,000 intelligence reports received by the IP Crime Group have led to prosecutions and convictions, but accepts that it may be too early for that sort of information to be known. Merpel says, am I alone in wondering whether -- without being any longer -- press releases could be a great deal more informative, which they would be if they broke with the ritual formality that is attached to them. Having to read what the Minister says is a bit like having to sit through the speeches at prize day.