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Automotive intellectual property crime

Police, the motor trade and the legal profession came together in a seminar. Their aim; a national strategy to target the increasing threat from the design, production and shipment of counterfeit motor vehicle parts and accessories.

The July 21 event at the City law firm Baker and McKenzie heard speakers from the City of London Police, the national lead force for economic crime, and motor industry figures. UK based motor manufacturers and the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders Ltd (SMMT) members attended the event to share their experience of counterfeiting issues and discuss collaboration and intelligence sharing.

City of London Police Detective Superintendent Pete O’Doherty said: “The safety of the public will always come first and we all play our part in protecting lives from dangerous goods that have not undergone correct factory testing. Counterfeit goods are made with the sole aim to make money, not provide the public with high quality good which are safe to use. There are indications that this money goes on to fund other forms of organised crime and this activity must be disrupted at the earliest opportunity. This City of London Police event has brought together key partners to develop new and innovative approaches towards protecting the public, the threat to the motoring industry, and disrupting criminals who manufacture and distribute potentially dangerous fake car parts.”

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “We are pleased to support this important event as part of ongoing efforts to crack down on car parts counterfeiters. This illegal activity puts lives at risk and damages brands and the industry’s reputation. SMMT is fully engaged on this issue, working with the City of London Police’s Automotive Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force to bring law enforcers and vehicle manufacturers together to share information, assist in domestic surveillance and prevent fake products from entering the UK.”

In January 2016 the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) began an investigation into the online sale of counterfeit vehicle airbags after a referral from Honda UK. This resulted in the arrest of a 34-year-old man in Dorset in February, the seizure of over 100 suspected counterfeit airbags, components and the identification of 680 members of the public who had been sold the potentially dangerous airbags. This investigation continues, police say.

PIPCU – The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit is a specialist national police unit that covers physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime. The operationally independent unit was launched in September 2013 with funding from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The unit is based within the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London force. PIPCU has investigated intellectual property crime worth £34.7m, conducted 79 investigations and arrested 69 individuals for fraud, copyright, counterfeiting and cyber enabled offences. PIPCU has helped to protect consumers from being ripped off online by suspending approx 11,000 websites selling fake branded goods. The unit has also identified over 1150 websites providing illegal access to films, music, TV, books, games and film.


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