A new UK law has changed the penalties for
copyright and trade mark theft and help enforcement agencies to
pursue the infringers.
The Copyright, etc Trade Marks (Offences and
Enforcement) Act 2002 received Royal Assent on 24 July 2002 and
came into force on 20 November 2002. The Act amends the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Trade Marks Act 1994. The main
provisions of the Act are:
- Increasing penalties for copyright offences from 2 years to 10
years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine in line with trade mark
law and conspiracy to defraud, this also now applies to the
production of unauthorised decoders
- Strengthening police search warrant power so that warrants may
be obtained for all copyright and trade mark offences, including
possession and sale of infringing articles
- In executing the warrant any article may be seized if the
police reasonably believe it is evidence of infringement e.g.
copyright owner or a trade association may request police to enter
the premises of a business suspected of using unlicensed software
and seize any PC and server on which the software may be stored to
use as evidence
- Amending the law on forfeiture of copyright infringement to be
consistent with trade mark infringement so that all such infringing
goods which have been seized can be ordered by the court to be
Last year UK industry lost £8.5 billion from fake
goods, and the Exchequer lost £1.5 billion in unpaid VAT. One in
three software applications is unlicensed, and nine in ten computer
games sold are pirate copies. There is growing evidence that the
money raised from cheap counterfeits is funding organised crime,
the drug trade and terrorism. Following the 1993 World Trade Centre
bombing, the FBI found strong evidence that the terrorists had
financed their acts by selling counterfeit textiles on Broadway.
There is also evidence that the funding of the IRA and ETA is
linked to counterfeit handbags, clothes and pirate videos.
Counterfeiting is a popular way of raising cash for such groups
because it has a high profit margin and sanctions have rarely been
enforced. The new act will make it easier for rights owners and
trade associations to protect intellectual property rights and
reduce the profitability of counterfeiting.
For further information, please contact Stephen
Whybrow by telephone on +44 (0)20 7367 2183 or by e-mail at
email@example.com, Susan Barty by telephone on +44 (0)20
7367 2542 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, Lucy Kilshaw by
telephone on +44 (0)20 7367 2376 or by e-mail at
email@example.com or Lydia Watts by telephone on +44 (0)20
7367 2054 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.