A major concern for our members is that proper deterrent measures must be available against those who commit IP crime, but our courts still tend to regard counterfeiting as a minor offence, akin to small–time fraud.
For civil infringements, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) which replaced the Patents County Court on 1 October 2013, deals with IP issues such as patents, copyright or trademark disputes with a cap on damages of £500,000 and a cap on costs orders of £50,000. The Court also has a small claims track for cases with a value of up to £5000. It sits within the Chancery Division of the High Court.
Criminal cases are heard either in the Magistrates Courts - which also hear civil claims for damages for infringement - or the Crown Courts, depending on the severity of the offence. Appeals from a Magistrates Court are heard by the designated Crown Court. Appeals from a Crown Court are heard by the Court of Appeal, which first has to give permission for the appeal to proceed.
One of ACG's important aims is to increase awareness both within the judiciary and amongst those appearing before them (solicitors, barristers, Crown Prosecution Service, local authority lawyers) of the true impact of this crime, both locally and nationally, and its links to other serious organised crime worldwide.
In addition to the criminal provisions of the Trade Marks Act, the Fraud Act 2006 and the common law offence of conspiracy (often used in cases where proving trade mark offences might be difficult), a useful weapon against counterfeiters is the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to trace and confiscate their assets, unless they can prove that those assets are NOT the proceeds of their criminal activity.
Thanks to effective lobbying by ACG and other rights organisations in the Alliance for Intellectual Property, IP crime is included in the list of 'lifestyle offences' which can trigger POCA proceedings.
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.