7th February 2022

IPO launches new strategy

The Intellectual Property Office has announced that it will build on its multi-agency approach to tackling counterfeiting.

By Intellectual Property Office

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published the UK’s new Intellectual Property Counter-Infringement Strategy, which  sets out how the Government will address IP crime and infringement over the next five years.

The strategy examines the processes and structures in place across the IP enforcement landscape and considers how these can be improved and built upon so enforcement agencies, Government and industry can work together more effectively to tackle IP crime and infringement.

IP crime is often considered by criminals as a low-risk but very high-reward crime. It is intrinsically linked to money laundering, causes significant harm across our communities and has potentially grave impacts for the most vulnerable in society.

National Trading Standards and local Trading Standards Teams have been a real asset and remain fundamental in the fight against IP crime and infringement. Working together on initiatives such as Operation Beorma has enabled better intelligence-sharing and has led to seizures of illicit goods, throttling cashflow for criminals. This multi-agency approach, involving PIPCU, the National Market Group, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group and many others, is exactly what the IPO’s new strategy encourages, right across the entire IP enforcement landscape.

The Strategy

The IP Counter-Infringement Strategy has three overarching themes: Partnership, Leadership and Education.

  • Partnership focuses on how we will co-ordinate the UK’s fight against IP crime and infringement.
  • Leadership focuses on how the UK continues to be a world leader on IP enforcement.
  • Education focuses on how we empower consumers and businesses, raising awareness and understanding of IP crime and infringement and the risks surrounding it.

The IPO has also embedded a version of the ‘4Ps’ delivery framework, which will sit across each of the key themes. This will shape our interventions, ensuring we reduce IP crime and its impact while helping us support our partners to disrupt IP crime.

The 4Ps framework sets out how crime should be tackled, from preventing the crime right through to convicting criminals and supporting victims. We have adapted the 4Ps to address IP crime and infringement as follows:

Prevent: Stopping people from engaging in, facilitating or supporting IP crime and infringement, working towards a time where it is seen as socially unacceptable to all.

Protect: Making it harder to commit IP crime and infringement, encouraging the use of technological measures, where appropriate, and ensuring our IP enforcement legal framework is as effective as possible.

Prepare: Strengthening resilience to IP crime and infringement and reducing current and future impact through collaboration with partners both domestically and internationally; and to improve access to justice for rights owners.

Pursue: Supporting and enabling effective IP enforcement activity, including prosecution and disruption, through criminal, civil and voluntary measures.

Key commitments

The IPO has made 14 commitments within the strategy, including:

  • To increase capacity and capability of its Intelligence Hub. Placing it at the core of IP enforcement activity and ensuring it takes a central lead and coordination role in the fight against IP crime and infringement.
  • To develop the structures and membership of the IP Crime Group. Enabling it to have a strategic and tactical enforcement focus across government, enforcement agencies and industry.
  • To work collaboratively with enforcement agencies to review how IP crime is recorded.
  • To work with Trading Standards, Border Force and the Police to embed IPO funded IP crime coordinators and champions in local regions to develop intelligence, coordinate activity and resource the fight against IP crime and infringement.

Our commitments are exciting and ambitious, and we believe they will have a real impact in the fight against IP crime at both regional and national levels.

The strategy represents a real step-change in our drive to protect IP rights. For the first time, we are establishing the links between IP criminality and other serious crime and looking to join up the counter-infringement effort with a broader range of agencies and government departments.

If you’d like to find out more, please contact the IPO team at IPCounter-InfringementStrategy@ipo.gov.uk.


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