About the Alliance

Alliance welcomes report into IP Crime at work

17 December 2008

The Alliance Against IP Theft today welcomes new research which highlights the scale of the problem of IP theft at work and the need for businesses to respect and protect IP.

The research was commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office's IP Crime Group and shows that many businesses are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk by failing to ensure their staff understand the importance of IP. For example, by making staff aware that they must not download pirated material or buy counterfeit goods while at work.

Through the IP Crime Group’s workplace sub-committee Alliance members played a key role in drawing up the report and we are now calling for action over its findings.

IP is at the heart of so many businesses.  It needs to be understood, protected, and respected – both that which belongs to the company and the IP of others.  Worrying trends highlighted by the report include:

  • A staggering 40% of businesses surveyed took no practical action such as trade mark registration or employee training to ensure their and others IP is protected. 
  • A third of businesses surveyed were not aware whether goods external traders were selling on their premises were legitimate or not.
  • Out of those who knew that employees were selling DVDs at work, nearly a fifth knew that these were counterfeit and still allowed such illegal activity to take place. 
  • Similarly, over a quarter of respondents do not make staff aware that they must not download illegal content at work. 

In addition the survey identified the following ways in which Trading Standards departments can help businesses tackle IP Crime:

  • Visits to industrial parks to encourage companies to call TS on an emergency number when traders turn up
  • Run a ‘fake free’ campaign which can generate a lot of local publicity
  • Raise the issue at local pub watch meetings to make landlords aware that they should not turn a blind eye and should contact TS
  • Brief Community Support Officers to look out for such products being sold given their close relationship to the local community
  • Consider taking Fast Track prosecutions so all stakeholders can see results of activity in action. 

The research also found that the majority of businesses would welcome advice and assistance in the following ways:

  • An independent website
  • Printed information packs
  • Providing Posters for display in business premises
  • A guidance document for use on an organisation’s intranet
  • The wording to use in employment contracts

Susie Winter, Director General of the Alliance, said:  

“The Alliance welcomes this research and the constructive suggestions it makes to help businesses and Trading Standards tackle IP crime. Most businesses would not dream of allowing their staff to commit other crimes at work so it is important they understand the importance of protecting and respecting IP. This research not only identifies the problem it also suggests solutions and we hope that businesses and trading standards will be able to act on its findings.”

Ends

Notes to editors
The full report can be found at:  http://www.ipo.gov.uk/report-workplaceresearch.pdf

Launched in 1998, the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (now Alliance Against IP Theft) created a unique single voice to promote to government the importance of intellectual property (IP) to all sectors of the UK economy and to explain the harm – economic, physical and social – caused by IP theft. 

Representing film, music, software and publishing, branded manufactured goods and retailers, individual designers and small businesses, the Alliance has campaigned vigorously to demonstrate the important economic and cultural contribution IP makes to the UK and helped bring about legislative reform to ensure our assets are safeguarded for the future well-being of the British economy.

For more information please call Matthew Willey on 020 7618 9148

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