European IP crime unit gets funding boost

Funding for Europol’s intellectual property crime unit has been doubled following its success in tackling counterfeiting and piracy across the EU.

The Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3), which was launched in July 2016, will receive the funding boost from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), to “enable it to intensify its work and build on the results it has achieved since its foundation”, EUIPO and Europol announced in a joint statement.

The unit’s enhanced tasks will include: scanning the internet; data analysis and processing; and increased training of enforcement authorities.

The announcement follows a number of successes as part of a region-wide crackdown on counterfeiting and piracy where the IPC3 has been central, including the investigation of nearly 1,400 suspects in 2017 alone who were believed to be involved in illicit trade.

“IPC3 is a success story, both in terms of its activities and in terms of the support it has given to enforcement authorities both inside and outside the EU,” said António Campinos, EUIPO’s executive director (pictured). “With increased funding, the unit will be able to concentrate on a wider range of tasks, with a view to making the internet a safer place for consumers and businesses.” 

IPC3 was launched in July 2016 and builds on the strategic agreement between Europol and EUIPO, which was signed in 2013. It was set up within the current structure of Europol and co-funded by EUIPO, which in 2016 was an annual grant of €500,000.

The establishment of the unit was an EU response to the growing number of dodgy online marketplaces and websites selling fake goods and opening consumers up to malware and financial scams, as well as a response to figures suggesting that 5 per cent of imports to the EU were counterfeit goods impacting EU businesses and the economies of member states.

The IPC3 was tasked with: facilitating and coordinating cross-border investigations; providing operational and technical support to authorities; monitoring and reporting online crime trends and emerging modi operandi; enhancing the harmonisation and standardisation of legal instruments and operating procedures to counter IP crime globally; and raise awareness of IP crime and provide training.

The funding boost will enhance the unit’s operations.

Europol welcomed EUIPO’s decision to “reinforce its support” to IPC3. “The rapidly evolving digital world presents big challenges for enforcement officers tackling IP crime that cannot be solved by law enforcement alone,” said Rob Wainwright, executive director at Europol. “IPC3’s operational successes are the perfect example of how building robust partnerships between the stakeholders involved is vital to effectively combat this crime.”

In 2017, the IPC3 was involved in 36 major IP crime cases and has co-ordinated transnational operations.

Stand-out successes that the unit supported include Operation In Our Sites (IOS) VIII, which, this year, disrupted more than 20,520 domain names illegally selling counterfeit goods online, as well as targeting e-commerce platforms and social networks, and Operation Opson VI, which resulted in the seizure of more than 13.4 tonnes of potentially harmful food items and 26.3 million litres of potentially harmful drink products, worth an estimated €230 million.

Meanwhile, Operation Silver Axe II targeted the emerging menace of illicit pesticides, and led to the seizure of 122 tonnes of illegal or counterfeit pesticides across 16 EU member states in July this year, and Operation Pinar led to the disruption of an international criminal organisation involved in IP crime and money laundering, where almost 265,000 products infringing IP were seized in Spain.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top