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Wednesday 26th April 2017

Intellectual property crime and the insatiable demand for counterfeit products cannot be properly tackled unless consumers are fully aware of the growing risks to their health and safety: ACG Director General’s call on World Intellectual Property Day

Alison Statham, Director General for the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) today, World Intellectual Property Day, called on Government, local authorities and enforcement bodies to do more to protect intellectual property (IP) and educate consumers from the dangers of counterfeit goods.    

World IP Day celebrates IP and the creators and innovators developing ideas that enrich our daily lives. Alison wants to protect IP further by asking for a joint public-private awareness group to promote wider public awareness of the issues of buying counterfeits.

Alison explained: “Intellectual property crime and the sale of counterfeit goods continue to escalate. Counterfeits reaching the UK today are often unsafe and potentially dangerous. They aren’t inspected or regulated and consumers don’t have any guarantees of safety or effectiveness.

“Innovation can be protected by a registered trademark, but consumers also need to understand that not only is their personal health and safety at risk, but the money they pay for a counterfeit is ultimately leading to organised crime.

“Government should work with ACG and business, to jointly develop and introduce programmes that properly educate and protect consumers from the dangers of counterfeits”.

In the UK trademarks have contributed over £15 billion a year to the economy and accounted for more than 26% of employment1. However this level of contribution is being put at risk, as the trade in counterfeit and pirated goods grows globally and has recently been estimated by the EUIPO, to be worth over $461 billion2.   

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Contact information
Anti-Counterfeiting  Group  
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com

Sources

1 ACG Manifesto. To download the report – Manifesto 2016

2 EUIPO IPR-intensive industries: contribution to economic performance and employment in the European Union (Sept 2013) To download the report – EUIPO IPR-intensive industries 

Notes to Editors:

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association which represents rights holders in the branded goods sectors (see our website www.a-cg.org for more information). It is a unique forum for stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting field to collaborate and support each other – from brand owners through specialist service providers to the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for enforcing the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.


Monday 27th March 2017

We need to do more to educate consumers on the dangers of buying counterfeit goods: Director General for the Anti-Counterfeiting Group's call as EUIPO publish its study into Intellectual Property Perception.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) has called on Government to do far more to explain to consumers the full repercussions of their counterfeit purchases; their personal health and safety could be at risk and the money paid will ultimately lead to organised crime and terrorism.

Alison Statham, Director General at ACG commented “The trade in counterfeit goods is escalating and is being fed largely by the explosion of the internet. Counterfeiters are exploiting its anonymity and expanding their supply chains.

“ACG want to work closely with Government to ensure business is actively involved in the solution to tackle IP crime and jointly develop and introduce programmes that will properly educate and protect consumers from the dangers of counterfeit products.”

This call for action comes just days after the EUIPO published results of a recent survey on European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness, and Behaviour1. The survey covering residents in the European Union generally confirmed that the key 15-24 age group has become less convinced that fake goods are damaging and is buying more counterfeit goods, mainly for price reasons.

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Contact information
Anti-Counterfeiting  Group 
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com

Sources
 
1 A copy of The EUIPO study can be found on the Observatory website: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/observatory/quantification-of-ipr-infringement

The ACG Manifesto outlines ACG’s objectives and calls on the government to take action http://a-cg.org/asset/acg_manifesto_2016_brochure_final.pdf

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a leading authority on the international trade in counterfeit products and represents more than 3,000 major brands across a range of market sectors, from luxury goods to household items.


Brand protection meeting between ACG and Alibaba 

Tuesday 14th February 2017

ACG and Alibaba meetThe Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and members met with e-commerce giant Alibaba today to discuss brand protection in China.

Matthew Bassiur, Vice President Global IP; Mei Chen, International Business; and Graham Clemence, Senior Director GIP welcomed ACG and its brand members and provided an update on Alibaba’s fight against the sale of counterfeit goods.

A direct and constructive discussion followed as ACG and more than 40 brands outlined the growing issues and challenges faced by legitimate businesses from counterfeit traders operating on sites, like Alibaba.

Alison Statham, ACG Director General comments “As a leading voice for the brands, ACG is working hard to tackle online counterfeiting and facilitating this type of meeting is a positive step forward.

“Online brand protection strategies need partnership working with agencies, like PIPCU (Police IP Crime Unit) and Trading Standards, but also with e-commerce providers. Only by understanding the constraints and challenges faced by all parties, can brands begin to identify the opportunities to: guard their reputation, target resource; strengthen enforcement; protect the consumer; and stop this fraudulent crime”.

Press Contact information:
Carol Levin
Anti-Counterfeiting Group T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com

Notes to Editors:
The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association which represents rights holders in the branded goods sectors (see our website www.a-cg.com for more information). It is a unique forum for stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting field to collaborate and support each other – from brand owners through specialist service providers to the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for enforcing the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.


ACG publishes Annual Report for 2016 

Monday 9th February 2017

ACG Annual Reprot 2016We need to tackle the scale and impact of intellectual property crime: Director General for the Anti-Counterfeiting Group's call as she publishes the ACG Annual Report 2016

Alison Statham, Director General for the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) today called on Government, local authorities and enforcement bodies to focus on preventing the sale of counterfeit goods, as the trade in fake products escalates year-on-year.  
 
On the day of the publication of the 2016 Annual Report for ACG, Alison highlighted just some of the areas that are fundamental to tackle counterfeiting and piracy. She explained:

“In this time of change and uncertainty we have a real opportunity to focus more effort and budget on getting the fundamentals right; from raising awareness to protect consumers from fake and dangerous goods to developing a national, multi-partner intellectual property (IP) enforcement body”.

Alison added:
“Despite the Government’s clear vision in protecting creativity and supporting innovation, international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is growing year-on-year, estimated to be worth £250 Billion(1).

”The Government has to strengthen its approach to IP enforcement and develop a national, multi-partner IP enforcement body to centralise expertise and intelligence, focusing equally on physical and online environments”.

The Annual Report highlights the main areas of work for ACG over the last twelve months, which has included; playing a key role in advising policymakers on plans, regulations and strategies to improve protection and enforcement; supporting enforcement partners in the use of alternative procedures and legislation; working alongside HM Customs and Border Force in joint-intensification exercises; and seizing more than 200,000 counterfeit goods worth £5 million.   

A copy of the Annual Report can be downloaded from Publications

Sources

(1) OECD and EUIPO: Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, Mapping the Economic Impact (April 2016).


Joint initiative fights back and nets thousands of counterfeits 

Wednesday 26th October 2016

The iconic indoor and outdoor markets in Camden and the neighbouring High Street shops, hold a special place in the hearts of thousands of shoppers and tourists that visit every year to take in the diverse and eclectic atmosphere.

Over recent years this atmosphere has been eroded by black market traders: peddling counterfeit and unsafe products to unsuspecting consumers; undermining legitimate trade; and stripping the UK economy of much needed revenue.

Camden’s Trading Standards and Market Development teams, working in partnership with the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and National Markets Group (NMG), are fighting back with an intelligence-led, multi-agency approach. It has netted tens of thousands of counterfeit and unsafe goods over the last two years and seen traders prosecuted and evicted from shops and market stalls.

The ACG is at the heart of this initiative, sharing intelligence with Trading Standards on active counterfeiters in the area and coordinating the attendance of large numbers of its members (rights owners) and major high street brand representatives to support the authorities on days of action.

In September 2016 a number of shops and market stalls were raided by Camden Trading Standards, the Market Development team and ACG members, leading to the recovery of over 12,000 counterfeit and unsafe items.

This consistent and coordinated approach, building on and enhancing additional enforcement actions by other NMG members has brought about a real change in the area leading to Camden Markets signing the Real Deal charter earlier this year in order to make the markets a safer place for shoppers and legitimate businesses to prosper.

Alison Statham, Director of Operations ACG commented, ‘’This intelligence-led partnership approach to tackle counterfeiting in Camden is paying dividends. Counterfeiters harm legitimate trade, prey on the vulnerable and take money out of the UK economy, much of which funds organised crime and terrorism. We applaud the efforts of the authorities in Camden and through our intelligence coordination role ACG will continue to support these actions.”

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Contact information Anti-Counterfeiting Group T: 01494 449165 E: admin@a-cg.com


Multi-agency task force targets street peddlers in Leeds 

Wednesday 26th October 2016

The shutters came down for illegal traders in Leeds city centre earlier this month, following a planned operation to seize fake goods. 

The police, Trading Standards and members of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) targeted eight street traders selling fake phone cases and other cheap imitation products. 
  
The investigation then led the enforcement and brand protection team onto a retail shop and five self-storage units. All premises were packed with thousands of counterfeit goods, valued at tens of thousands of pounds and capable of filling three large transit vans. 
  
Making or selling fake goods is against the law. Sellers can be fined or may even go to jail for up to 10 years. 
  
"Legitimate businesses had been complaining about fakes being sold in the area and wanted action. The ACG, working together with our members, West Yorkshire Police, Leeds City Council and Trading Standards have demonstrated that this type of crime won’t be tolerated. We are extremely grateful to the authorities for taking this direct action and we will continue to identify and tackle any offenders", commented Graham Mogg, Intelligence Co-ordinator for the ACG. 

An ACG member explained “Street vendors selling fake phone covers may seem harmless to the public they are just the tip of a very nasty iceberg. Behind them are global production and distribution networks run by criminal gangs, using the huge profits from counterfeiting to fund other crimes.”

A recent report published by the IP Crime Group confirmed the top three crimes linked to IP crime are; benefit fraud, money laundering and organized criminal networks.   

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Contact information Anti-Counterfeiting Group T: 01494 449165 E: admin@a-cg.com


ACG Conference attracts intellectual property experts

Thursday October 13th 2016

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is hosting its annual intellectual property (IP) conference in London today, which has attracted IP experts from around the world.

Rights holders, enforcement professionals and brand protection specialists are attending the event, to hear from key speakers focused on; the multi-dimensional threats surrounding IP, and creative and collaborative approaches to tackling this insidious crime.

Baroness Neville Rolfe, Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property is the conference keynote speaker and she will be joined by presenters known for their work in trying to protect business and consumers from counterfeit products.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, said:
"The partnership between Government, law enforcement, and business has had a major impact on IP crime. Together we will continue to track down and dismantle criminal organisations and networks that profit illegally from the hard work of others.

"IP crime hurts consumers and businesses alike so I am fully supportive of the important work of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group helping businesses large and small tackle this issue. IP criminals across the country are already finding out how effective our collective efforts can be."
ACG represents more than 3,000 brands affected by this influx of fakes into the UK and delivers an international network of information, advice and contacts on all aspects of IP protection. Working with Government and law enforcement agencies since 1980, ACG is focused on providing an effective and sustained response to counterfeiting.

“We are delighted to welcome so many intellectual property professionals here today. Everyone attending today knows all too well that the sale of illicit counterfeit goods is increasing year-on-year and that the rise in online activity is fueling that growth.

“It’s important that we come together to tackle these issues and learn best practice. Counterfeiting is a lucrative and extremely dangerous criminal activity and ACG is working with its members, the UK Government and law enforcement agencies to help shape effective deterrents and raise awareness” commented Alison Statham, ACG’s Director of Operations.

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Contact information Anti-Counterfeiting Group T: 01494 449165 E: admin@a-cg.com


New European IP Office – EU Observatory - Report on the economic cost of infringements in the wine and spirit industry

Tuesday 26th July 2016

The UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), which represents over 3,000 international brands, welcomes this latest independent report, published by the European Intellectual Property Office.

The study, carried out in collaboration with the European Patent Office, estimates that legitimate EU wine and spirit businesses are losing approximately €1.3 billion in revenue every year due to counterfeiting. The resulting shortfall in sales also means the loss of approximately 4,800 jobs. What’s even more worrying is that the figures provided in the report only relate to goods produced and consumed within the EU and do not include losses suffered by EU producers in non-EU markets.

The knock effect of counterfeiting in this sector and on other industries and government revenue is even more alarming, with losses of sales reaching approximately €3 billion. This leads to overall employment losses of about 23,400 jobs and a €1.2 billion deficit in government revenue.

The report also highlights the growing plight of UK based companies, which are the largest producers and exporters of spirits in the EU and and are losing almost £74, 000,000 every year.

Alison Statham, ACG Director of Operations said, "the UK wine and spirits businesses are amongst our most valuable and prized assets and every year they are being endangered by this insidious form of crime. Not only are the producers losing around £74,000,000 every year, as a result of counterfeiting, if we add in the supplier sectors the total number job losses, is over 2,600.

This is a sinister form of counterfeiting that is also presenting real dangers for consumers. Fake alcoholic drinks containing lethal chemicals such as chloroform, anti-freeze and ethyl acetate are being found across the country and people need to be vary careful. Consumers need to be in no doubt that fake spirits and wine can be deadly or at least cause blindness and serious injury. In reality, everyone is being threatened by counterfeiting and the ACG advice on this is to 'only buy or access products from reputable sources and when in doubt, leave well alone."

The full report can be found here 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

This is the 8th report in a series of studies, undertaken by the EUIPO, to reveal the economic impact of counterfeiting piracy in numerous industrial sectors in the EU. Previous reports have covered the economic impact of fake cosmetics and personal care items, fake clothes, sports equipment, toys, jewellery and handbags and luggage.

Each report centres on a sector known to be particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting and piracy.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association which represents rights holders in the branded goods sectors (see our website www.a-cg.org for more information). It is a unique forum for stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting field to collaborate and support each other – from brand owners through specialist service providers to the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for enforcing the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

For further information please email alison@a-cg.com  


New European IP Office – EU Observatory - Research Report on Online Business Models that Infringe Intellectual Property Rights

Tuesday 12th July 2016

The UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), which represents over 3,000 international brands, welcomes this leading-edge study and report, published by the European Intellectual Property Office.

The report confirms that over the past 10 years, counterfeiters and pirates have persistently and continually worked to develop online business models that give them wider scope to market and sell their fake products to consumers and businesses across the globe. However, the study also reveals an additional ‘dark side’ in which the systematic use and exploitation of digital platforms, websites, darknet markets, social media and the domain name system are not only leading to a wider proliferation of fake goods, but to the dissemination of dangerous malware, illegal phishing and fraud which is helping criminals to access the ID’s and bank accounts of consumers and businesses.

This ‘first phase’ study, commissioned by the EUIPO, exposes the fact that counterfeiters are clearly innovative and often pioneering in the way they develop their IPR-infringing business models, which are often created by mirroring authentic online business platforms, websites and marketplaces. Using this approach, criminals are able to mislead consumers and businesses alike. Moreover, they are also able to remain anonymous and gain direct access to sales revenue, subscription fees and donations and even more indirect revenue sources such as pay-per click or advertisement fees. All of which is used to fund their criminal lifestyles and other illegal activities. This study is important because it not only provides government, enforcement and industry with a greater understanding about how infringers and criminals work in the online world, it also provides them with possibilities to develop a more effective range of strategies which can be used to tackle counterfeiting and piracy over the internet.

Alison Statham, ACG Director of Operations said, “26% of all employment in the EU is now directly generated by intellectual property related industries and it is vital that these precious assets are protected in both the physical and online worlds. I am delighted that this work has been given such a high priority by EUIPO and look forward to the next stage report. However, what the work shows us already is that criminals clearly make no distinction about how and who they target. Consumers and business are regularly being attacked in the same way. In reality, everyone is being threatened by counterfeiting and piracy and the ACG advice on this is to ‘only buy or access products from reputable sources and when in doubt, take advice’. “

The full report can be found here 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

This is the 7th report in a series of studies undertaken by the EUIPO, to reveal the economic impact of counterfeiting piracy in numerous industrial sectors in the EU. Previous reports have covered the economic impact of fake cosmetics and personal care items, fake clothes, sports equipment, toys, jewellery and handbags and luggage.

Each report centres on a sector known to be particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting and piracy.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association which represents rights holders in the branded goods sectors (see our website www.a-cg.org for more information). It is a unique forum for stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting field to collaborate and support each other – from brand owners through specialist service providers to the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for enforcing the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

For further information please email alison@a-cg.com  


ACG LAUNCH 2016 MANIFESTO

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) today announced the launch of its 2016 Manifesto. The Manifesto delivers a tool that outlines the calls for action from the government ACG consider necessary to establish a more effective response to IP crime.

The UK Government has estimated it loses £1.3 billion in unpaid tax from the sale of counterfeit goods and that figure is growing. In fact, over the last five years the value of trade in counterfeit goods worldwide has increased by more than 80%, topping half a trillion dollars a year .

The ACG Manifesto calls on government to: place IP crime as an immediate political priority, with sufficient resource to properly enforce laws designed to protect businesses and consumers; develop a national, multi-partner IP enforcement body, that encourages collaboration and focuses equally on online and physical environments; and work with business to promote awareness of the dangers and ultimate cost of counterfeiting. 

ACG represents more than 3,000 brands affected by this influx of fakes into the UK and delivers an international network of information, advice and contacts on all aspects of IP protection. Working with Government and law enforcement agencies since 1980, ACG is focused on providing an effective and sustained response to counterfeiting.  

“Government must openly recognise counterfeiting as a lucrative and extremely dangerous criminal activity. It’s not only luxury brands; it's affecting practically every product on the market today. The sale of illicit counterfeit goods has increased year-on-year, driven primarily by the rise in online marketing activities. Consumers are unwittingly purchasing counterfeit goods that are often sub-standard quality and put the public’s health and safety at risk. The UK Government and law enforcement agencies need to work collaboratively with ACG and its members, to shape a more effective deterrent to counterfeiting.” commented Alison Statham, ACG’s Director of Operations.

Download your copy of the ACG Manifesto 2016


ACG ANNOUNCES 11 AWARD WINNERS - Wednesday 22nd June 2016

At the CTSI Conference held at the International Centre in Telford, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) announced the winners of this year’s Awards for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting.

ACG introduced the awards in 1994, to recognise some of the very best enforcement work in the fight against counterfeiting. Candidates are nominated for each category and an awards panel of ACG members make the tough decisions that determine the worthy winners.

Alison Statham, Director of Operations, commented:

“Yet again at an ACG awards presentation, we have a strong and diverse list of winners. Our awards celebrate the very best enforcement work in tackling intellectual property crime. This is a tremendous list of winners which reach across all enforcement bodies, from London to Scotland and across to Ireland. It fully demonstrates the dedication and hard work going on within Trading Standards, Border Force, Police and other enforcement agencies.”

In the 22nd year of the awards ACG has teamed up with BEACHBODY and no!no! for the five prestigious award categories.

The ACG Awards 2016 winners are:

DAVE HANKINSON MEMORIAL AWARD FOR INDIVIDUAL EXCELLENCE IN ANTI-COUNTERFEITING ENFORCEMENT

Winner: Filippina Marziano (Enfield Trading Standards)
Filippina conducted an exemplary, professional and complex investigation last year involving multiple agencies. The fakes seized and fraudulent activity was estimated to be worth millions of pounds.

Highly Commended: Mick Funnell (North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards)
Despite significant cut-backs, Mick has worked with partners to uncover the biggest ever single haul by Trading Standards for illicit tobacco in NE Lincolnshire.

Highly Commended: Ali Bandukwalla (Brent and Harrow Trading Standards)
Ali has consistently demonstrated professionalism and dedication in tackling IP crime and referred numerous counterfeiting cases to ACG brand members during 2015. 

DEPARTMENTAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ANTI-COUNTERFEITING ENFORCEMENT

Winner: Conwy County Borough Council Trading Standards
Looking at new ways of investigating the criminal activities of a fulfilment house this team worked with new partners to uncover a huge operation – identified as level 3 criminality (serious and organised crime, operating on a national and international scale)

Highly Commended: Fife Council IP Enforcement Group Trading Standards 
Demonstrating excellence in five joint, proactive initiatives, the team have worked with partners including; HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Scottish Trading Standards, Police Scotland, Fife Council’s Food Safety Team and Stirling Council’s tobacco detection dog and handler.

Highly Commended: North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards
With a long list of successful IP-related work during 2015, the team also managed to engage: the Leader of the Council, Deputy Chief Executive, Portfolio Holder and Head of Service, who all accompanied the team while they were executing warrants, under the Trade Marks Act.

SPECIAL COMMENDATION AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ANTI-COUNTERFEITING ENFORCEMENT
Awarded to:

Greater Manchester Police
Heathrow Border Force
Andrew Law (Police Scotland)
Jim Madden (Garda Síochána)

SPECIAL INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ANTI-COUNTERFEITING ENFORCEMENT
Awarded to:

DC Weizmann Jacobs (PIPCU)

If you require further information please contact the Anti-Counterfeiting Group
T: 01494 449165
E: admin@a-cg.com

Notes to Editors:

The Individual Award for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting is dedicated to a dear friend and colleague, Dave Hankinson of the Ford Motor Company. Dave sadly died of cancer in summer 2006. With the permission of his widow and grateful thanks to Ford for so generously sponsoring it, we have a special cup which is engraved each year with the name of the winner.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) represents the voice of business in shaping an effective deterrent to counterfeiting in the UK. We help to steer effective policy, promote evidenced based actions, empower multi-agency partnerships and strengthen international collaboration. We have been working since 1980 to raise awareness of this serious organised crime.

BEACHBODY was founded in 1988 and is a leading provider of fitness, nutrition, and weight-loss programs.

no!no! is the trademark for a hair removal device, manufactured by Photo Therapeutics Ltd. - researchers, developers, and manufactures of non-laser light sources for the management of oncological and non-oncological conditions.


Latest OHIM Observatory impact reports on the manufacture of counterfeit jewellery, watches, handbags and luggage

Wednesday 11th February 2016

Today the EU Observatory on infringements of Intellectual Property Rights[1] released its latest reports on the impact of counterfeiting throughout the EU.

Over the past year the Observatory has published a series of such reports[2] highlighting the importance of IP to society and the effect of counterfeiting and piracy in a range of vulnerable sectors.

So far, the publications have included a first “Situation Report” on counterfeiting in the European Union, and four major impact reports about the clothing, footwear and accessories sector, the cosmetics and personal care sector, the sporting goods sector and, more recently, the toys and games sector. These studies have now been followed up by detailed analyses of the costs and impacts of counterfeiting in the “Jewellery and Watches”[3] and, “Handbags and Luggage”[4] sectors.

Why is the Observatory doing this and how can these reports help? Well, we clearly need an independent view, if only to counter the arguments that impact reports and statements have traditionally been written by those who would seem to benefit the most.

As these reports are being produced by a “public body”, they tend to have more credence and influence with government and enforcement. Secondly, the methodology being used by the Observatory and its partners is clear and consistent, which means they can aggregate statistics and provide more reliable overall forecasts. Moreover, the resources the Observatory has at its disposal means that figures can be continually revisited and updated. As a result, we will be in a better position to attract and focus our enforcement resources.

The latest reports once again reveal the huge damage that results from counterfeiting. Across both sectors the annual loss in government revenue, in EU countries, is estimated to be €1.1 billion. In addition, 27,000 jobs have been directly lost, because manufacturers have simply employed fewer people than they would have done in the absence of counterfeiting.

The biggest loser is Italy where the handbags and luggage manufacturing sector loses €520 million every year as a result of counterfeiting. Italy is also the largest producer of jewellery in the EU and its jewellery and watches manufacturing sector annually loses approximately €400 million.

However, the effect on the UK is also significant. Our handbag and luggage-manufacturing sector annually loses ₤149 million, as a result of counterfeit products, which is nearly 12% of all sales. In addition, the UK’s jewellery and watches manufacturing industry loses ₤138 million annually as a direct result of counterfeiting.

Alison Statham, ACG Director of Operations said, “Contrary to the common belief that both sectors are dominated by big business, they are, in fact, largely made up of small businesses, which employ fewer than ten people. The impact of counterfeiting, in this context, is devastating.

The UK needs small and medium enterprises and the jobs and skills base they provide. Failing to properly protect and enforce the IP rights of such businesses in the UK is not acceptable because it simply makes it more difficult for them to scale up their companies than it might do outside of the EU. 

Both Europol and Interpol recognise counterfeiting as an extremely dangerous, multinational, organised crime activity, with links to sinister networks across the world. In the UK we have notorious hotspots such as Wellesbourne, in Stratford, and Cheetham Hill in Manchester. These are now, recognised “black markets” for illegal fake goods, worth millions of pounds every year, and focal points for criminality. Sales of fakes in areas such as these are destroying the UK’s international reputation for fair trade and investment. They also undermine community safety and result in massive losses in public revenue, trade and jobs.

ACG hopes that these new reports will help to destroy the myth that counterfeiting only harms big businesses. We need to expose the truth about the wider economic and social harm of counterfeiting, and in so doing help to change the overall perception that counterfeiting is an innocent business. 

Link to the full Jewellery & Watches report can be found here

Link to the full Handbags & Luggage report can be found here

NOTES FOR EDITORS

These are the 5th and 6th reports in a series of studies, undertaken by OHIM, to reveal the economic impact of counterfeiting in numerous industrial sectors in the EU.

Each report centres on a sector known to be particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association which represents rights holders in the branded goods sectors (see our website www.a-cg.org for more information). It is a unique forum for stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting field to collaborate and support each other – from brand owners through specialist service providers to the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for enforcing the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

The most recent European Commission report on EU customs confirms the growing dangers we face. Statistics published in October 2015 show that in 2014, more than 95,000 cases were registered by EU Customs authorities and as a result, over 35 million counterfeit articles were detained, with an estimated value of just over 617 million euro. Of these, potentially dangerous products for daily use in the home including body care articles, medicines, toys, electrical household goods accounted for over 28% of the total number seized.

This is clear proof of the development of counterfeiters' business models and that people are increasingly taking the risk of using the Internet to buy potentially dubious products from overseas.

For further information please email alison@a-cg.com


Major OHIM Observatory report on "The economic cost of IPR infringement in the toys and games sector"

Wednesday 14th December 2015

The UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) which represents companies with over 2,700 international brands, welcomes this important new study from the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the EU’s intellectual property agency.

Over the years ACG has been make every effort to convince governments and enforcers of the growing dangers associated with counterfeiting, which damages our economy, destroys jobs and, feeds organized criminal gangs that are often involved in trafficking drugs, firearms and people. This report confirms the economic damage caused by this menacing trade, in just one sector.

Read more...


MarkMonitor research reveals that 24% of consumers have been deceived by counterfeiters when shopping online

Wednesday 9th December 2015

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), which represents companies with over 2,700 international brands, congratulates MarkMonitor, on this crucial report.

Over the years ACG has been striving to convince governments and enforcers of the growing need to protect business and consumers from what has become an insidious criminal activity that is damaging our economy, destroying jobs, feeding organized crime gangs and ultimately threatening the safety and security of consumers. This report helps to prove the extent and danger that counterfeiting presents to ordinary people on the street.

Read more...


European Commission Customs Report on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement at EU borders

Wednesday 28th October 2015

The UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), which represents companies with over 2,700 international brands, welcomes this most recent report by the European Commission on EU Customs’ action to enforce IPR rights at EU borders in 2014.

ACG is pleased to see that the number of cases being dealt with by EU customs authorities has increased from 86,854 in 2013 to over 95,000 in 2014. However, while the number of articles actually detained is in line with last year’s reported figures, the results are in sharp contrast to the volume of EU wide detentions made between 2008 and 2011, when well over 100,000 products were seized at the borders. In addition, the number of seizures made in the UK has fallen by 33% from over 3.3 million to 2.2 million products. This dramatic reduction is of real concern in view of the fact that the overall percentage of potentially dangerous fake products, such as food, medicines, electrical household goods and toys grew by over 3% compared to 2013. 

Read more...


Major OHIM report on "The economic cost of IPR infringement in sports goods"

Thursday 10th September 2015

The UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), which represents over 140 international brands, welcomes this crucial new study from the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the EU’s intellectual property agency.

For many years businesses across the world have struggled to convince governments of the huge economic and social damage caused by the manufacture of counterfeit goods.  This independent report, about just one business sector, clearly supports what industry has been saying for so long about the massive global impact that counterfeiting has on a day to day basis.

The study confirms that €500 million is lost to the EU every year as a result of fake sports equipment such as footballs, sports helmets, tennis rackets, gym equipment, skateboards, golf clubs etc. This and the destruction of around 2,800 jobs per annum, result in losses of €150 million to member states’ governments which could be used for vital public services in health and education.  

In the UK alone, the manufacture of counterfeit sports equipment costs the sector €50 million a year.

Alison Statham, ACG Director of Operations said, “the volume of counterfeit goods being sold and distributed in the UK has reached unacceptable levels and unfortunately, fake sports equipment has become a key product line for fakers. People need to be aware that these bogus sport products are not only cheap replicas, but are often extremely dangerous and that the people who make and supply these goods have no care for the health and safety of the buyers.

Both Europol and Interpol recognise counterfeiting as an extremely dangerous, multinational, organised crime activity, with links to sinister networks across the world.

In the UK, locations such as Wellesbourne in Stratford, and Cheetham Hill in Manchester are focal points for criminality and are now recognised “black markets” for illegal counterfeit goods, worth millions of pounds every year. Sales of counterfeits in areas such as these are destroying the UK’s reputation internationally for fair trade and investment. It also undermines community safety and results in massive losses in public revenue, trade and jobs.

ACG hopes that this independent report will help to expose the worldwide economic and social harm of counterfeiting, and in so doing help to change the overall perception that counterfeiting is an innocent business.“

Link to the full report can be found here

NOTES FOR EDITORS

This is the third report in a series of studies, undertaken by OHIM, to reveal the economic impact of counterfeiting in numerous industrial sectors in the EU. In March, OHIM published the first study in this series, which looked at the economic impact of fake cosmetics and personal care items. This was followed, in July, by a similar report on fake clothes, shoes and accessories (including fake sportswear).

Each report centres on a sector known to be particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association which represents rights holders in the branded goods sectors (see our website www.a-cg.org for more information). It is a unique forum for stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting field to collaborate and support each other – from brand owners through specialist service providers to the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for enforcing the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

The most recent European Commission report on EU customs bears this up, highlighting that almost 87,000 detention cases were registered across EU borders in 2013. The seizures included 36 million items for daily use in the home, such as body care articles, medicines, toys, electrical household goods.  Proof of the development of counterfeiters' business models and that people are increasingly taking the risk of using the Internet to buy potentially dubious products from overseas.

For further information please email alison@a-cg.com


Key OHIM report on counterfeit clothing, shoes and accessories

Tuesday 21st July 2015

The UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), which represents over 140 international brands, welcomes a vital, new, study from the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the EU’s intellectual property agency.

The report confirms that the sale of fake clothing, shoes and accessories is having a dramatic impact on the sector, resulting in annual losses of 518,000 jobs and €43.3 billion in sales. This impacts hugely on the economies of countries across the EU in terms of lost revenue, which is used to support vital public services such as health and education.

The study reveals that in the UK alone the trade in fake clothes, shoes and apparel is costing UK manufacturers, retailers and distributors around 2.6 billion in lost sales and 40,000 jobs every year.

Alison Statham, ACG Director of Operations said, “the volume of counterfeit goods being sold and distributed in the UK is totally unacceptable.

Locations such as Bovingdon Market, Herts, and Cheetham Hill in Manchester are now internationally recognised “black markets” for illegal fake goods, worth millions of pounds every year. These hives of criminality result in massive losses of public revenue and trade, which is damaging local, regional and national economies. In addition, businesses and jobs are being destroyed, along with the prosperity and reputation of the whole country.

People need to be aware that the same people who make and supply these goods are also responsible for more dangerous fakes such as body care articles, medicines, toys and electrical household goods. In addition, both Interpol and Europol have recognised counterfeiting as organised crime and this important report will hopefully help to change society’s perception of counterfeiting as a harmless activity by helping to expose its worldwide economic and social harm.”

Link to the full report can be found here

NOTES FOR EDITORS

This study on the clothing, footwear and accessories sector will be followed over the next 18 months by similar assessments on 10 other sectors known to be subject to IPR infringements, such as watches and jewellery, luggage and handbags; sport goods, games and toy; medicines; computers and automotive parts, as well as tobacco and alcoholic drinks. In March 2015, OHIM, acting through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, released the first report in the series, on the economic impact of counterfeiting in the cosmetics and personal care sector.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association which represents rights holders in the branded goods sectors (see our website www.a-cg.org for more information). It is a unique forum for stakeholders in the anti-counterfeiting field to collaborate and support each other – from brand owners through specialist service providers to the law enforcement agencies which are responsible for enforcing the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

The most recent European Commission report on EU customs bears this up, highlighting that almost 87,000 detention cases were registered across EU borders in 2013. The seizures included 36 million items for daily use in the home, such as body care articles, medicines, toys, electrical household goods.  Proof of the development of counterfeiters' business models and that people are increasingly taking the risk of using the Internet to buy potentially dubious products from overseas.

For further information please email Alison Statham, Director of Operations alison@a-cg.com


ACG AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE 2015 ANNOUNCED

Tuesday 2nd July 2015

Each year, ACG makes awards to trading standards officers and departments, police, customs and other enforcement organisations, for exceptional work in the fight against counterfeiting during the preceding year. ACG members nominate candidates in each category, and a panel of members then decides who should receive the awards.  It's 21 years since ACG introduced these awards to mark the implementation of the duty placed on local authorities to enforce the relevant provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1994.   

In the past few years, resources have been increasingly stretched, and smarter enforcement has developed in response, with more partnership working and an intelligence-based approach which is paying dividends - both between rights holders and law enforcement and between the different enforcement agencies. 

All the winners are working with greatly reduced resources, while the workload seems to increase year on year. We are very proud of our enforcement colleagues and their refusal to give up, in the face of huge and ever-increasing challenges.  All the nominees were very deserving and tough decisions had to be taken by our panel in choosing the winners.

The Awards for Excellence 2015 were presented at the CTSI Conference in Bournemouth by Alison Statham - ACG Director of Operations.

Further Information here


WORLD ANTI-COUNTERFEITING DAY – UK CELEBRATES ON 4 JUNE 2015!

The UK Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), which represents over 140 international brands, is celebrating World Anti-Counterfeiting Day through a major enforcement-training event.

The event will be held at Heathrow Airport and is specifically designed to showcase up-to-date enforcement techniques to help authorities tackle Intellectual property crime (counterfeiting and piracy), which threatens consumers’ health and safety, destroys jobs and deprives local and national economies of much needed revenue.

This is the twentieth training event held at Heathrow Airport and alongside ACG Members, whose brands are constantly affected by the global trade in counterfeit goods, contributors to the event include frontline officers from Border Force, HMRC, Police & Trading Standards.

This reflects the significance placed by enforcement authorities on training and ensuring officers are equipped with the necessary skills to combat this evermore-dangerous criminal activity.

The training day is also being marked by the presentation of a specific “Dedication to Anti-Counterfeiting” award. The award will be made to Heathrow Border Force officers, who work tirelessly to remove counterfeit goods from circulation. 

Read more...


12th December 2014: LAUNCH OF MANIFESTO FOR BRANDS: HOW BRANDS MAY DELIVER MORE TO THE UK

Today The Manifesto for Brands is launched by the British Brands Group, the voice for brands in the UK, and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) which campaigns against the trade in fakes. It outlines the significant contribution brands make to the country and proposes a six-point plan on how they may deliver even more.

Brands already contribute significantly to the economic and social fabric of the UK. While delivering a choice of ever-improving products and services to individuals, brands also help companies grow faster, commercialise innovation, provide quality employment in manufacturing and other sectors and boost export performance. They also provide a strong positive force for responsible, sustainable business.

John Noble, Director of the British Brands Group, said:
“The penny is beginning to drop. Study after study shows the significant economic contribution that branding makes to the economy, effects that are felt locally, regionally and nationally. It continues to surprise, therefore, that branding does not feature more prominently in government policy. The UK, with its iconic brands and creative reputation, seems to be missing a trick when it comes to fully harnessing this power.”

Chris Oldknow, Chairman of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, added:
"The high value of brands sadly acts as a magnet to those out to exploit it unlawfully. Counterfeiting is a serious organised crime, harming individuals, the economy and society. It allows organised criminal gangs to raise huge amounts of cash that can then fund other forms of serious crime. It affects everyone. It brings criminals closer to our homes, destroys jobs and deprives local and national economies of much needed revenue. The protection of our valuable brands needs greater political attention and more resources for enforcement."

The Manifesto presents a six-point plan:
• Place brands firmly within the UK economic policy
• Provide the environment for brand growth
• Stop the trade in fakes
• Encourage companies to invest in brands
• Allow people to make informed buying decisions
• Allow communication with consumers

A full copy of the Manifesto can be downloaded here 
For any further information, please contact:
John Noble (British Brands Group) on 01730 821212 or jn@britishbrandsgroup.org.uk
Phil Lewis (ACG) on 01494 449165 or phil.lewis@a-cg.com


10th December 2014: Social Media or Criminal Enterprise”

The growing phenomenon of counterfeit goods being sold on the social media platform Facebook was brought to the fore again this week as Operation WATCH, an industry led multi-agency initiative entered its third phase.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and 24 of its members monitored the platform and collected evidence against individuals and groups who were selling a range of counterfeit products.

The fakes being targeted ranged from branded cosmetics, electrical goods, clothing and footwear as well as cigarettes.

Having identified the offending pages they then initiated a takedown operation through Facebook’s own reporting tool, removing illegal content and also supported Trading Standards and the Police IP Crime Unit (PIPCU) in targeted enforcement actions in South Wales and Leeds against the most prolific traders.

Read more...


8th August 2014: ACG HAS NOW CONFIRMED ITS LINE-UP FOR THE COMING SEASON, WITH A NEW FORMATION

Alison Statham has been promoted into a new role of Director of Operations, reporting to ACG Council. Alison will lead our events, membership and law enforcement engagement as well as taking on the management of our core team of Ali Irwin and Diane Sidor. She will be working with our consultants on other areas of ACG focus.

Phil Lewis will become a Strategy Adviser to ACG, working with Alison, helping to develop ACG and engaging on policy and communications. Phil will be known to many from his time at the IPO as the author of the original UK IP Crime Strategy in 2004, or as the driver of much of the work of the EU Observatory first at the Commission in Brussels and then of late at OHIM in Alicante. He is retiring from the IPO in August. One of his final acts of public service was the organisation of the London IP Enforcement Summit in June 2014. He will be consulting with ACG to work with Alison. His focus will be on the overall strategic plan for ACG, lobbying on customs and enforcement resources and expanding the visibility of our communications.

We are also pleased to continue the consultancy support from Graham Mogg on Intelligence Co-ordination. Meeting referral criteria for harm and showing the wider picture of criminality is increasingly necessary for members to have their cases addressed, and joint referrals and operations are key. Data to support our requests to government regarding resources for Customs, Trading Standards and Police is equally vital. This is a terrific line up to take forward ACG members' issues and to develop member services

Chris Oldknow, ACG Council Chair


25th February 2014: BUSINESS COMMUNITY WELCOMES TODAY'S VOTE BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON COUNTERFEIT GOODS IN TRANSIT AND URGES COUNCIL TO FOLLOW SUIT

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) which represents companies across all industry lines and sectors welcomes today’s vote by the European Parliament of robust measures to fight the transit of trademark counterfeit goods in the EU as part of a wider review of the European Union trademark legislation. Trademark counterfeiting is a global, pervasive and serious hindrance to growth and jobs, and often a threat to citizen health and safety. The capacity of European customs to act is essential in this fight against the trade of counterfeits.

Read more...


23rd January 2013: ACG IRELAND - PLAIN PACKAGING: ASSESS THE RISK OF INCREASING THE MARKET FOR COUNTERFEITS

With the Parliamentary Health Committee Hearings starting this Thursday, 23rd January The Anti-Counterfeiting Group is again highlighting its concern that removing branding from tobacco packaging will be a boost to those who trade in counterfeit cigarettes, undermining the desired health objectives, risking large amounts of tax revenue, and diverting funds to illicit traders and away from Irish retailers.

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13th December 2013: "ONLINE ONSLAUGHT"

Friday 13th proved to be especially bad luck for those selling counterfeit goods on Facebook. The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and 17 of its members monitored the platform and collected evidence against individuals and groups.

Read more…

To ACG Members