The Minister for Intellectual Property has released official advice to business

A new best practice toolkit which gives businesses advice on how to prevent fake goods entering supply chains was launched today by David Lammy, Minister for Intellectual Property.

Developments in technology and communications have led to increases in intellectual property (IP) crime (counterfeiting and piracy) over the past decade, around $200bn a year, creating a massive problem for businesses around the world.

The Supply Chain Toolkit has been produced by the Intellectual Property Office’s IP Crime Group. It includes a step by step approach on what action should be taken if counterfeits are found within the supply chain and guidance on how to strengthen and protect IP assets.

David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property said: ‘IP crime is a serious global issue with tens of billions of pounds worth of counterfeit goods seized across national borders each year.’

He added: ‘With recent research finding that nearly a quarter of all small and medium-sized enterprises were affected by counterfeiting, this toolkit offers practical advice to businesses to help them better protect themselves from IP crime, especially during these already challenging times.’

IP crime has spread from small industries producing poor-quality, counterfeit fashion accessories and goods to massive manufacturing plants that can produce cheap copies of everything from electrical appliances to medicines. Often these cheap copies can be very dangerous.

Intellectual property crime is worth £1.3bn in the UK with £900m of this flowing to organised crime, according to official estimates.

Businesses rely on goods received from many different suppliers, and are at risk unless effective systems and agreements are put in place to tackle this problem.

Roger Rogowski of the UK Electronics Alliance said: ‘Counterfeit electronic components are entering the UK market in huge numbers, costing the economy an estimated £1bn a year. However, the consequences of system down-time or even critical system failure resulting from the use of counterfeit components in safety critical applications, such as public transport systems, are potentially catastrophic. This toolkit will greatly assist our industry in highlighting the importance of having systems in place to tackle this growing problem effectively.’