IP crime unit launched by City of London police

A new police unit to tackle IP crime and online piracy will be launched in September by the Intellectual Property Office.

The office will give £2.5m in funding over two years to the City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud, to allow it to establish and run the unit aid and enforce IP law.

The unit’s launch was announced today by IP minister Lord Younger and City of London Police commissioner Adrian Leppard. It is one of the first units globally which will specifically target online piracy, counterfeit goods and other kinds of IP crime.

By 2015, global losses of $240bn are expected to be recorded by music, film and software companies as the practice of illegally downloading content rises.

Lord Younger said: “Intellectual property crime has long been a problem in the world of physical goods, but with the growing use of the internet, online intellectual property crime is now an increasing threat to our creative industries. These industries are worth more than £36bn a year and employ more than 1.5m people.”

Leppard said: “We are creating an operationally independent police unit that will co-ordinate the national and international response from law enforcement and public and private sector partners so we can effectively target those who continue to illegally profiteer on the back of others’ endeavours.”

Jonathan Radcliffe, IP partner at Mayer Brown welcomed the establishment of the unit, hailing it as “good news for all”.

He said: “Organised IP infringement can really damage industries that are a vital part of the UK economy, ranging from counterfeit drugs to high-tech components through to the creative industries such as music and fashion, so this a welcome step forward in helping these businesses to thrive.”

Business secretary Vince Cable first announced the plan to establish the unit in December 2012.