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Press releases

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Multi-agency raids net thousands of counterfeit goods

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) working in collaboration with Camden Trading Standards have coordinated an intensive two day action targeting market stalls and retail shops selling counterfeit goods to Camden shoppers.

On Thursday 17th and Friday 18th August 2017, as part of a long term strategy to rid the tourist hot spot of counterfeit goods, Trading Standards officers were joined by ACG and 20 of its members on pre-planned raid actions at Buck Street market and several High Street shops.

The action resulted in the seizure of thousands of counterfeit and suspected unsafe products bearing the names of well known high street brands.

The profits of such activity are often used to fund other types of crime such as drug trafficking, money laundering and in extreme cases terrorism.

The ACG regularly works with Trading Standards and other law enforcement and government agencies to combat this criminal activity and through its intelligence coordinator shares information on active counterfeiters leading to raids and other enforcement actions

Alison Statham, Director General of the ACG said ''An intelligence led partnership approach is the only way to tackle the increasing threat from the sale of counterfeit goods. Criminals involved in the sale of these products have little care for the shoppers and legitimate businesses who are affected by this activity. We are very grateful to Camden TS for their continued support and dedication in working with ACG and our members to reduce the impact of counterfeiting in the area''

For anyfurther information, please contact:

Alison Statham (ACG) on 01494 449165 or alison@a-cg.com

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Anti-Counterfeiting Group

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association, recognised as a leading authority on the worldwide trade in fakes. ACG was founded in the UK in 1980 with just 18 members (mostly in the automotive industry) who discovered that they had a common problem with counterfeits. Today ACG represents over 130 multinational companies that between them own around 3,000 brands, operating in, or providing specialist advice to, most industry sectors where counterfeiting is an issue.


Monday 24th July 2017

Dangerous counterfeit products continue to flood into the UK

A dramatic rise in the number of goods seized by Customs in 2016 that were potentially dangerous, has resulted in serious questions being asked about whether the UK Government is ignoring the plight of innocent consumers by failing to prevent a tidal wave of counterfeit products from entering the country.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is responding to the latest figures published by the European Commission. In its 2016 report on Customs’ Enforcement of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights, the Commission reveals that products for daily use and potentially dangerous to consumers’ health and safety, accounted for 34% of the overall total goods seized. That is an 8% increase in dangerous products seized since 2015 and indicates a worrying trend that will have an ultimate cost to society.

 “The amount of food and drink, medicines, toys, personal care products and household electrical goods which were seized, clearly demonstrate the disregard counterfeiters show the public. They are not interested in offering a genuine bargain or quality product. They simply want cash, to help fund terrorism and organised crime” explained Alison Statham, Director General for ACG.

“If the Government doesn’t respond to the rise in imports of potentially dangerous counterfeit goods soon, more consumers will be put in danger and UK brands (ACG members) worried about their reputation, may start to look to move their business overseas, where intellectual property is both respected and protected. That will not only threaten UK growth, but with an EU average of more than 21% of jobs generated by trade mark intensive industries, it could result in thousands of job losses.

In light of upcoming trade agreements and BREXIT negotiations, the UK needs to show its resolve in protecting and enforcing vital IP rights and assets”.

Alison went on to challenge the Government to: “allocate sufficient resource that can properly enforce the IP laws designed to protect businesses and consumer; and to develop a national, multi-partner IP enforcement body that centralises expertise and intelligence”.

China remains the world’s leading counterfeiting superpower, but large amounts of counterfeit cigarettes come from Vietnam and Pakistan, counterfeit alcohol from Singapore, fake clothing accessories from Iran, counterfeit mobile phones from Hong Kong and fake medicines originating in India.

Ends

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

Notes

A copy of the European Commission report on Customs’ Enforcement of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/sites/taxation/files/report_on_eu_customs_enforcement_of_ipr_at_the_border_2017.pdf

Source of figure quoted More than 21% of jobs generated by trade mark intensive industries: https://euipo.europa.eu/tunnel-web/secure/webdav/guest/document_library/observatory/documents/IPContributionStudy/performance_in_the_European_Union/performance_in_the_European_Union_full.pdf

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. 


Wednesday 5 July 2017 - British IP Day

BRANDS - A FORCE BEHIND BRITAIN'S SUCCESS

Today – British IP Day – the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) and British Brands Group outline brands’ powerful contribution to the UK and call for action to further strengthen performance.

On British IP Day (5th July 2017), the Anti-Counterfeiting Group and British Brands Group are writing to Members of Parliament stating the importance of brands to us as individuals, to innovation, jobs, wages, productivity and export performance. They call for action in four areas to allow brands to contribute even more.

The role of intellectual property (IP) in the UK’s current and future success is central and trade marks are by far the most valuable economically. Trade-mark-intensive industries contribute the most value added, more than double that of patent-intensive industries in second place. They also provide the most jobs, more than double that of design-intensive industries, the second largest source of employment.

A trade mark, as an ownable sign of origin, allows companies to capture and protect investments in reputation and is therefore considered a proxy for brands.

John Noble, Director of the British Brands Group, said:

“British IP Day is the perfect time to recognise the enormous contribution of companies that rely on IP. That includes those that create strong, engaging brands. It also time to focus on where the UK must do more to derive greater value. It remains far to easy for the unscrupulous to free ride on the hard won and fragile reputations of familiar brands and we urge Government to act.”

Alison Statham, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, added:

"The international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods now amounts to a massive 2.5% of world or $461 billion. Most brands are hit and the UK is a primary target. It is more important than ever that the UK has an effective framework and the necessary resources to stop the social and economic harm that fakes cause.”

A copy of the communication to parliamentarians can be downloaded from this link 

For anyfurther information, please contact:

John Noble (British Brands Group) on 01730 821212 or jn@britishbrandsgroup.org.uk

Alison Statham (ACG) on 01494 449165 or alison@a-cg.com

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Anti-Counterfeiting Group

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) is a not for profit trade association, recognised as a leading authority on the worldwide trade in fakes. ACG was founded in the UK in 1980 with just 18 members (mostly in the automotive industry) who discovered that they had a common problem with counterfeits. Today ACG represents over 130 multinational companies that between them own around 3,000 brands, operating in, or providing specialist advice to, most industry sectors where counterfeiting is an issue.

The British Brands Group was founded in 1994 as a non-profit-making membership organisation. Its primary role is to provide the voice for brands, speaking out when commercial and regulatory issues threaten the ability of branding to be a positive force. Member companies manufacture familiar and popular branded products in a wide range of product categories and two thirds of them are SMEs.

For more information please visit the website: www.britishbrandsgroup.org.uk


Wednesday 28 June 2017

ACG ANNOUNCES 2017 AWARD WINNERS

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Conference in Harrogate on 28 June, was the event the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) chose to announce its award winners for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting.

The awards were originally introduced in 1994, to thank enforcement for its support and to recognise significant enforcement activity in the fight against counterfeiting. Candidates are nominated by their peers and ACG members vote for their worthy winners.

This year the awards are sponsored by Proctor and Gamble (P&G)

Dave Hankinson Memorial Award for Individual Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement

Winner: Justin Miller (Southwark Trading Standards)
Justin led a long and intensive surveillance operation, working in collaboration with HMRC, Police and colleagues from Lewisham Trading Standards. His patience and hard work resulted in successful convictions for members of an organised crime group and initiated further investigations into money laundering and trade mark offences.

Highly Commended: Robert Courtney (Camden Trading Standards)
Robert has shown an incredible amount of dedication in tackling counterfeiting on Camden High Street. In addition key intelligence he provided has led to the identification of a main importer of counterfeit Levi jeans into the UK.

Highly Commended: Peter Thompson (Coventry Trading Standards)
In 2016 Peter and his team seized more than two million cigarettes by raiding; retail shops, self-storage depots and vehicles. He continues to share his expertise with other Trading Standards teams and motivates colleagues with infectious enthusiasm.

Departmental Award for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement

Winner: Doncaster Trading Standards
Doncaster TS implemented a pro-active initiative to monitor Facebook and have already identified a large number of individuals selling infringing product. Over 80% of these products have since been removed and sellers not responding to specific warnings are being targeted with formal action.

Highly Commended: Isle of Anglesey Trading Standards
This very small authority and Trading Standards team implemented an initiative to ensure intelligence is recorded on a routine basis. This intelligence-led approach has made a significant improvement to intelligence reporting of Intellectual Property Crime.

Highly Commended: Coventry City Council Trading Standards
Coventry City Council Trading Standards is a close knit, dedicated team of enthusiastic officers, who have worked closely with other agencies to promote a cohesive united front against illicit traders. In 2016 alone they seized in excess of 2 million cigarettes.

Special Commendation Award for Excellence in Anti-Counterfeiting Enforcement

Awarded to:
Philip Bergin – Irish Revenue & Customs
Philip has been ex responsible for some very significant seizures over the last 12 months. He has liaised with other Government bodies and in particular An Garda Síochána to ensure product been taken out of circulation and importers have been pursued and investigated.

Victoria Hawkey – HMRC
Victoria’s team assumed the customer-facing responsibility for processing Applications for Action (AFA) submitted by rights holders and their representatives. Victoria is a highly productive and valued member of the AFA processing team.

Gemma Rees – Dyfed Powys Police
Gemma has assisted trading standards officers in converting loose intelligence into viable targets.  Her enthusiasm and respect for Trading Standards and IP crime has led to collaboration and intelligence sharing between enforcement agencies, with many successful outcomes. 

Special Individual Achievement Awards

Brian Higgins – Manchester Airport Freight Team, Border Force North
For using an intelligence-led approach to targeting air freight as part of Operation PISA which resulted in thousands of counterfeit goods being detained.

Rhys Harries – Swansea Trading Standards
For his consistent achievements in reducing the availability of counterfeit goods in the market place and on-line for the benefit of consumers and ACG member brands. The threat faced to Welsh consumers from the sale of counterfeit goods on Facebook which were being sourced from Bristol Fruit Market was so high that Rhys engaged with ACG and made the M5 ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) exercise happen.

Team award - Manchester City Council Trading Standards and Legal Team
For their development of Operation Strangeways and drive to develop a multi agency partnership using a little known piece of legislation Sect 146, Law of Property Act, 1925 to remove counterfeiters from Council owned premises. This action has been instrumental in reducing the availability of counterfeit goods in the Strangeways area, benefiting over 50% of ACG members.

Ends

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. 


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.   

Ends

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.

Ends
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).


 

About ACG

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.

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