18 October 2017
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.
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.
Membership with the ACG is the best way to work with government and enforcement bodies to protect your brand. Our Roadshows and training days help you reach out to police, trading standards and border force officers and tell them about your genuine products.