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“IP Minister Required for Intellectual Property Battle” - Alliance Against IP Theft

6th December 2006

6th December 2007 - The Alliance Against Intellectual Property Theft has welcomed the Government’s endorsement of the independent Gowers Review’s main recommendations.

The Alliance has described the Report as a “ringing endorsement of the importance to the UK’s future economic success of intellectual property and the damaging impact of intellectual property (IP) crime”. It has called the Report “a very substantial step forward.”

The Alliance - which represents creative and manufacturing industries with a combined turnover of more than £250 billion and employing over one million people in the UK – has stressed the need for earmarked resources for IP enforcement to match the Report’s recommendations and to combat IP theft.

It has urged all Government departments to incorporate IP protection into their thinking and is calling for the creation of a dedicated IP Minister to act as a “champion of creativity and innovation” across the whole of Government.

The Alliance has welcomed the recognition in the Report that organised criminal gangs, rather than ‘lovable rogues’, are behind a substantial part of the UK’s IP theft. Its Director General, Susie Winter, says:

“This is a battle royal against a cunning and adaptable enemy. Consumers who buy fake goods will be horrified to discover where their money is actually going. Government’s response requires all hands on deck, from the police, trading standards officers and the judiciary, to educators, business and the Treasury.

“We are at a crucial moment. IP will be the lifeblood of our economy in the 21st century. I am confident that, for every penny the Treasury invests in IP protection and enforcement, it will yield pounds in increased creativity and innovation.”

The Alliance has particularly welcomed the recommendation in the Report to incorporate IP theft as a component into the National Community Safety Plan, making it a priority for policing. It also welcomes proposals to strengthen the penalties for IP theft, in particular on-line.

Proposals to consult on ways to make it easier for Trading Standards Officers to police criminal activity at car boot sales, and prevent the practice of using copycat packaging to fool consumers into believing that imitation products are, in fact, the real thing could yet result in missed opportunities. Winter says that:

“Consultation must be prelude to action, rather than an excuse to avoid it. Intellectual property theft harms consumers, business and local communities. This is an excellent Report; the challenge now is for Government to act rapidly on its recommendations.

“This is the opportunity to create an IP system that is fit for the 21st century.” Ms Winter concluded.

For further information please call Hannah Cordle or Ben Rich at Luther Pendragon on 020 7618 9100

For information about joining the Alliance please contact
Susie Winter at susie@allianceagainstiptheft.co.uk
or on 020 7534 0595