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UKIPO unleashes promising and bold strategy cracking down on IP crime and infringement

Heidi Hurdle
23/02/2022

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United Kingdom

Earlier this month, the UK Intellectual Property Office released a new five-year strategy outlining the UK government's commitments to tackle IP crime and infringement - vowing that it will have a “real impact” both internationally and nationally.

Amongst the reformations in the Intellectual Property Counter-infringement Strategy: 2022 to 2027  the national “centre of excellence”, co-operation with enforcement agencies and campaigns are the most promising in the ambitious fight to ensure IP crime and infringement will one day be viewed as “socially unacceptable to all”.

The UKIPO outlines that it will create a national “centre of excellence”, centred at the core of IP enforcement activity to assess IP infringement, take a central lead and co-ordinate work. Working alongside Trading Standards, Border Force and the police, it will establish IP crime co-ordinators and local champions to further develop intelligence, co-ordinate activity  and resource in the fight against IP crime and infringement.

The UKIPO further elaborates on how a collaborative approach with enforcement agencies will promote the review of IP crime and how it is recorded. The strategy states that “impactful” campaigns will be launched to reduce IP crime and infringement, by working with UKIPO partners internationally and nationally, focusing on those who are consciously and unconsciously infringing IP. Therefore, this strategy aims to increase public awareness and criminal enforcement.

The report examines the UK’s exit from the EU and how this has impacted the UKIPO approach on how to enforce IP rights - “Our relationship with the EU is different, however our joint commitment to having strong and effective enforcement of IP rights is the same”. In this regard, it looks at how our exit provides new opportunities such as “the freedom to shape our own activities around IP crime and infringement including looking at how we can bring the public and private sector together to tackle these issues more effectively”.

The UKIPO also adds reassuringly that it will work with the Department for International Trade to ensure that the government's upcoming trade deals do not weaken the UK's IP regime.

Thoughts

It is hoped that the UKIPO’s bold proposals will make a difference to the fight against IP crime and infringement. Reflecting on Brexit and Covid-19 in particular, the UKIPO also recognises that the future is uncertain. The report notes that evolving technologies have altered our ability to purchase and access legitimate and illegitimate goods, therefore the need to be flexible and future-thinking is key so that the UKIPO can adapt to the challenges and opportunities as they arise.

With thanks to Charlotte Budd, Solicitor Apprentice, co-author of this blog.

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