Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU)

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is a new body set up in September 2013 to specifically target online piracy, counterfeit goods and other kinds of IP crime.

The IP minister, Lord Younger, said at the launch of the unit "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".

The sale of counterfeit goods not only loses sales for legitimate businesses, but substandard counterfeit goods can also damage the reputation of a legitimate supplier, leading to further financial losses with subsequent job losses.  This new dedicated unit has therefore been set up to specifically protect UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content by providing a UK policing response to online intellectual property crime; thus ensuring a proper reward for innovation and hard work.  The remit of this unit is to investigate and prosecute serious offenders and to seize criminal assets.  It is believed that this will reduce damage to UK industries that are a vital part of the UK economy, and thus help these UK businesses to thrive.

In fact, this newly established unit has already arrested two men in Birmingham on the suspicion of importing counterfeit DVD box sets and for selling them online.

This new dedicated unit comprises a 19-strong team based at the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate.  It is partially funded by the UK Intellectual Property Office, which is a part of the Department for Business and Innovation Skills.

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Patricia Phillips

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