No one can doubt the scale of the IP crime problem. Globally, it is projected that digitally pirated music, films and software could account for as much as $240 billion next year. Combined with the trade in physical counterfeit goods, this could rise to over $1 trillion. That is a significant amount of global trade with a strong link to organised crime and a huge impact on the global economy.
If we are to tackle these problems then businesses, governments and law enforcement must work together - there is only so much we can do alone. Those of us who are working to tackle IP crime must find opportunities to share our knowledge and experience, and work together to develop sustainable solutions.
Conversation is key if we are going to make this happen. That is why the IPO is hosting the International IP Enforcement Summit in partnership with OHIM and the European Commission, in London on 11 and 12 June. The Summit will bring together members of the IP and enforcement communities across the world and has been designed to get that dialogue going.
The speakers and delegates are drawn from across the globe and represent all sides of the debate. We will welcome creators and innovators, businesses, government, enforcement agencies, from industries old and new, from east and west. Bringing these people together will give us all a unique opportunity to hear from key figures in the world of IP from the UK and beyond. Perhaps the Summit will help set parameters for future debates through the conversations that we have here.
All of the breakout sessions bring together representatives with different points of view - and we hope these conversations in particular will spark interesting discussions. For example, the panel that will consider IP and the Digital World includes Ed Vaizey MP, UK Minister for Culture, Media and Sport; a view from the enforcement front line by Donald Toon, Director Economic Crime Command, UK National Crime Agency; and input from John Spelich, vice president, Alibaba Group and Val McDermid, crime writer to give their views on the importance of IP enforcement in the business and creative industries. I have no doubt this diverse group will have lots to say about the challenges we face.
This approach to tackling the enforcement challenges we all face is really important. I started my career in social science research and that time has given me a firm belief in the power of understanding and evaluating our systems and frameworks - and how people use, understand and perceive them. The discussions we will have at the summit will help us to build the necessary understanding and to be inspired by best practice from around the world. Discussing and exploring each other's interests and requirements will help us to understand what we can offer each other, as well as bringing us together to have more power as a group.
This way of working is embedded in the IPO's approach to enforcement. The IP enforcement landscape, like the problem itself, is complex - and we need to understand it as best we can. The IPO Intelligence Hub works at the centre of the many different agencies involved across the private and public sectors, and works with enforcement authorities at home and abroad. The Hub collects information, analysing and adding value to produce intelligence products that help our partners make decisions on where to take action. Through combining our efforts and resources effective action can be taken in the most efficient ways.
We have had many successes in the fight against IP crime as a result. For example, in the recent the FD Express case, police, Border Force, French Customs, the IPO and brand holders collaborated to convict a number of individuals who were importing counterfeit luxury goods into the UK for onward distribution to Western Europe. The IPO also supported the formation of Police Intellectual Property Unit and as a result the UK is a world leader in developing robust interventions through intermediary services to change the landscape in support of genuine business and to the disadvantage of criminals. Since its formation in Sept 2013, PIPCU been involved in operations to arrest those involved in suspected counterfeit CD operations believed to be making tens of thousands of pounds, and has suspended more than 2,500 websites selling counterfeit goods.
The IPO also works closely with a range of partners in the IP Crime group which brings together representatives from government, law enforcement and industry from all over the UK, to work together to deliver a co-ordinated response to IP crime. This has led to better understanding and better evidence, such as that contained each year in the IP Report - the definitive source of data on IP crime in the UK.
Conversations are also a great way to spark new ideas and partnerships. In February 2014 the IPO and Music Inc launched a joint campaign to educate 11-14 year olds about the impact of music piracy. Our Music Inc App has been a great success - over nine million songs have been created with positive decisions relating to piracy being made by over 75% of players.
We hope the summit will prompt ideas big and small across the rich mixture of organisations that will be present. I very much like the story that the ideas for a bunch of really successful Pixar movies were all conceived at a single lunch meeting in a diner in Richmond, California. The movies were A Bug's Life; Monsters, Inc; Finding Nemo and Wall-E. They went on to earn a combined 15 Oscar nominations and more than $2.2 billion (£1.46 billion) at the box office. If that's what just one lunchtime conversation can produce, then I have great faith in what strides forward may be taken in our area over the two day summit.
The IP Summit will provide a great forum for debate. It is a chance for all of those working in the enforcement area to get talking and to form new and stronger partnerships to help tackle IP crime. This is also a unique opportunity to showcase the UK's enforcement activities and provide a platform for sharing best practice from around the world. I for one am looking forward to it!
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