For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

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

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Or will the various excesses in protecting the IOC's commercial interests that will undoubtedly make big headlines next year only increase the public's antipathy against the sale of the UK's sovereignty to the IOC and its sponsors, and against IP rights in general?

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness that England has no recent history of violent crimes against persons, looting, rioting, etc.

Now, England can devote is policing resources to issues that really matter, such as "piracy" of US music and films.

And, of course, the protection of the core values of the Olympics - namely higher profits, faster return on investment, and stronger suppression of criticism.

P Dant said...

Confidentiality notices - you don't understand why we include them. You thought it was something to do with the law. It isn't - they're magic spells. The power is in reciting the prescribed words. Those words are not required to relate to anything in the real world - but if our employer, on the advice of his lawyer, or on what he thinks the advice of his lawyer would be if he could be bothered to ask, requires them to be added to our communications, we add them.

I regularly receive by email church bulletins giving the times of masses for the week. These state unambiguously: "This email and any attachments are confidential, privileged and protected by copyright."(emphasis added). I protested about this falsehood to my parish priest, who said it was inserted on the instructions of the diocese. I protested to the diocese, who couldn't understand what I was worried about ("Nobody else has complained!"). I pleaded for 'are' to be changed to 'may be'. The official could not do this without consulting the diocese's legal advisors, who unfortunately were on a journey, or sleeping.

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