About the Alliance

"Gowers must tackle enforcement concerns" says Alliance

27 April 2006

The Alliance Against Intellectual Property (IP) Theft has urged the Gowers Review to recommend important changes to the way intellectual property rights are enforced in the UK. Alliance Director General, Susie Winter, was commenting as it made its submission to the Treasury commissioned Gowers Review of Intellectual Property.

"We do not believe the current system of IP rights is that broken, but we do think the Gowers Review represents an ideal opportunity to address some important problems and make sure our system is fit for purpose. The importance of IP in a knowledge-based economy means modern and effective enforcement of IP rights is essential."

"IP crime causes real damage – to the economy, to consumers and to society. Whilst an increasingly digital age brings improved access for consumers and industry, it also make it easier to abuse IP rights", Winter said.

Existing problems affecting effective enforcement highlighted in the Alliance’s submission include:

- Inadequate resources for trading standards
- Inability to prosecute market organisers who persistently allow the sale of fake goods
- Trading standards having neither the power nor the duty to enforce copyright legislation
- Infringement of intellectual property in the workplace
- Inadequate legal redress for copycat packaging
- Lack of presumptions for copyright ownership in criminal matters
- Inability for courts to hear ‘anonymous’ evidence in civil search and seizure applications

The creative industries generate over 8% of the UK’s GDP, while brand manufacturing (which relies heavily on intellectual property) accounts for 14% of UK manufacturing and over £50 billion of gross output. They also have a crucial role to play in encouraging innovation – something recognised by government in its establishment of the Technology Programme.

With intellectual property theft growing and becoming more ingrained as an organised criminal activity, British industry is losing billions of pounds a year, the Treasury is losing significant tax revenue, consumers are being put at risk and ripped off, and local legitimate businesses are finding it hard to compete with the illegal traders.

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