The online environment of counterfeiting and piracy figures by Nominet showed the suspension of 32,813 domains for criminal activity, marking a year-on-year increase of 97 percent, according to the latest UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) IP Crime and Enforcement Report for 2018 and 2019.
The report, in cooperation with around 30 organisations focused on the prevention of IP rights violations, centred around two main strategies of crime prevention measures and public awareness initiatives.
It identified that the ever-increasing franchising system of social media has led to the creation of online networks of organised counterfeiting and copyright infringement, as affirmed by the National Markets Group for IP Protection (NMG) and the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).
Products sold online that are most likely to be counterfeit are electrical household goods as well as toys, cosmetics and perfumes. FACT explained that one-third of UK residents have unintentionally purchased a fake household product online.
This trend follows the mass expansion of ecommerce—for example, the Chinese ecommerce market alone is worth around $877 billion. FACT also highlighted that the popularity of streaming services has led to an increase in the sale of counterfeit IPTV services.
According to the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), China and Hong Kong remain the leading manufacturers of counterfeit and pirated products, responsible for 83 percent of fake goods imported into the EU, followed by Turkey and India.
The report also flagged concerns surrounding design protection available to designers following Brexit, as they will no longer be covered by the higher level of protection offered by the EU’s Unregistered Community Design Right.
In response to the current landscape of IP crime, many of the organisations featured in the UKIPO’s report have initiated measures such as consumer campaigns, partnerships, parliamentary activity, trading standards, social media campaigns, intelligence coordination, working groups, and other counterfeit awareness tools.
Former minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation, Jo Johnson, commented: “IP crime undermines the credibility of markets. Counterfeiting and piracy does not just defraud customers, it drains the life out of legitimate trade, diverts funds from brand owners who research and develop new products, lend potency to organised crime, and starves the exchequer of funds. Reducing the economic impact of counterfeiting and piracy is an imperative.”
Giles York, chair of the IP Crime Group, added: “The UK has a recognised world-class IP enforcement regime. I commend the diverse members of the IP Crime Group for their commitment to tackling the threat of IP crime to UK economic growth and stability.”