Speaking to the Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Group in London, Trade and Industry Minister Malcolm Wicks said that, from 6 April, new powers under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, backed up with £5million new funding, will be at the disposal of Trading Standards Officers and other UK enforcement agencies to support the duty to enforce this Act.
The DTI?s plans were welcomed by ELSPA Director General Paul Jackson, who said: ?The fight against IP theft remains a massive problem for not only the games business but film, music and branded goods. The DTI?s commitment to give new powers to TSOs around the country, plus a further £5 million in funding is a clear sign that the DTI understands that Trading Standards needs more help in the battle.?
Bringing into force Section 107a of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988 was a recommendation of last year's Gowers Review of Intellectual Property. It will make enforcement of copyright infringement the duty of Trading Standards and give enforcement officers the power to make test purchases, enter premises and inspect and seize goods and documents. The IP Crime Group's Strategy is enabling co-ordinated action from customs, benefit fraud teams, police, trading standards and industry investigators.
Trade and Industry Minister, Malcolm Wicks said: "From 6th April, there'll be an additional 4,500 pairs of Trading Standards eyes watching counterfeiters and pirates. This will mean more surprise raids at markets and car boot sales, more intelligence, more prosecutions and more criminals locked up. IP criminals should know that the UK is not a safe place. The risk of 10 years' imprisonment and unlimited fines is very real and, from this date forward, a markedly higher risk."
He continued: ?The UK film, music and game industries are among the most creative and innovative in the world, but peddlers of counterfeit product are costing those industries up to £9 billion a year. The taxpayer is also losing out to the tune of £300 million. It's a serious offence, whether committed by small-scale hawkers or international crime organisations.?