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UK number one for intellectual property

The US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) released the third edition of its International IP Index, which rated the UK as number one in the world for intellectual property (IP) enforcement.

IP covers patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyright; and the index covers also enforcement of that law against crime, whether physical counterfeiting or software piracy.

The report, meant as a tool for governments across the globe to understand key IP factors, listed the UK second, behind the United States, of 30 countries – a mix of developed economies and emerging markets – for its IP environment and number one for its IP enforcement.

Germany came third and France fourth, whilst Thailand, India, Vietnam and Indonesia received the lowest overall scores.

The report welcomed the UK’s ‘high’ enforcement and commended the country’s “highly advanced and sophisticated national IP environment.” The UK could do better on the proposed plain packaging of cigarettes – the chamber of commerce taking the view that plain packets will make it easier for counterfeits – and a ‘relatively high level of software piracy’ for a developed economy. In the small print, the report points out that the 2010 Digital Economy Act has taken time to deliver, if at all; last year the Government put off indefinitely part of the law – the sending of warning letters to those suspected of infringing intellectual property.

The full Index and 180-page report can be viewed at

Head of City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, Detective Chief Superintendent, Dave Clark said: “The City of London Police is extremely pleased to see that the UK’s IP enforcement is ranked at number one in the world. Our specialist Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) works closely with law enforcement nationally and internationally, to provide a world class service in tackling intellectual property crime. We are pleased that the UK has been recognised as a leader in this area thanks to the collaborative partnerships between private sector, government and law enforcement.

“With PIPCU’s new extended funding from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) the team is set to continue its fight against intellectual property (IP) crime and forge new relationships near and far to ensure it remains an integral part of the national response to a threat that is costing the UK more than a billion pounds a year.”

And the Intellectual Property Minister at the Department for Business, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, said: “A strong IP system is key to encouraging innovation and delivering continued economic growth. So I am tremendously pleased that this GIPC views the UK’s IP enforcement regime as the best in the world. This is testimony to the joined up efforts of government agencies, law enforcement, industry and other local and UK and international partners in tackling IP crime. That the UK is also ranked at the top for patents, trademarks, trade secrets and market access, membership of international treaties is further evidence of our world class IP regime.”​​

At GIPC, based in Washington DC, David Hirschmann, president and CEO, said: “Twenty nations improved their score in the 2015 IP index, showing that leaders in both developing and developed economies increasingly recognize the connection between effective intellectual property protection and achieving their greatest economic potential. Protecting intellectual property drives innovation in economies, which creates everything from life-saving cures, to the must-have technologies and services that allow consumers to access the latest creative content everywhere. Without protections in place to safeguard innovation, these breakthrough products and technologies simply wouldn’t exist.”

Mark Elliot, executive vice president of GIPC, said: “Businesses understand the climate they need to be successful, and they understand that protecting IP rights and innovation is essential in deciding what technologies to advance and where to invest and create jobs. The Index serves as a tool for governments around the world to hear directly from the business community about the conditions necessary for an innovative economy.”

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