ACG calls for urgent crackdown on IP crime

The UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) has urged the government to place intellectual property crime as a political priority.

The UK is estimated to lose £1.3 billion in unpaid tax from the sale of counterfeit goods. This figure is growing, and worldwide the value of trade in counterfeit goods has increased by more than 80% in the past five years to half a trillion dollars a year.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently concluded that e-commerce, via the internet, has become a "major enabler for the distribution and sale of counterfeit and pirated tangible goods."

In its 2016 Manifesto, the ACG, which represents more than 3000 brands affected by fakes, laid out a number of recommendations it considered necessary to establish a more effective response to IP crime.

This includes calls on government to: openly recognise the escalating international trade in fakes and to place IP crime as an immediate political priority, with sufficient resource to properly enforce laws designed to protect businesses and consumers; develop a national, multi-partner IP enforcement body, that encourages collaboration and focuses equally on online and physical environments; and work with business to promote awareness of the dangers and ultimate cost of counterfeiting, as well as raising awareness among the public.

"Government must openly recognise counterfeiting as a lucrative and extremely dangerous criminal activity. It’s not only luxury brands; it’s affecting practically every product on the market today," said Alison Statham, director of operations at ACG.

She called for urgent, more proactive action, saying that counterfeits risked destroying our businesses, safety, security and future economic stability, while funding organised crime and terrorism.

She added: "The sale of illicit counterfeit goods has increased year-on-year, driven primarily by the rise in online marketing activities. Consumers are unwittingly purchasing counterfeit goods that are often sub-standard quality and put the public's health and safety at risk. The UK Government and law enforcement agencies need to work collaboratively with ACG and its members, to shape a more effective deterrent to counterfeiting."

ACG now plans to meet with key policy-makers in government to establish common priorities and determine what measures can be quickly put in place.

The full report can be accessed here.

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