By Daniel Hunter
Baroness Wilcox, Intellectual Property Minister, saw how Border Force officers tackle the challenges of uncovering multi-million pound illegal trade in counterfeit goods by preventing fakes from entering the UK everyday.
On a visit to the Coventry Postal Hub, which receives all incoming and outgoing international packets that weigh between 2.2 and 30 kilograms, the Minister saw first-hand how Border Force officers who are based on-site detect illicit goods such as drugs, firearms, prescription drugs and intellectual property items such as counterfeit consumer goods.
“With the popularity of on-line shopping, we have seen an increase in the quantity of counterfeit goods arriving in the UK," Baroness Wilcox said.
"This illicit trade is bad for rights holders and the economy, and can cause harm to the consumer. I was therefore delighted to see, first-hand, industry and government taking practical steps together to tackle the problem.”
The Minister set out how the issue of counterfeit goods impacts the economy as she delivered a keynote speech to the Anti-Counterfeit Group's Conference ahead of the Olympics and Para Olympics. Olympic branded lighters are amongst some of the counterfeit items seized from ports, markets and shops throughout the UK — these are always fake as the Olympic brand is not associated with any product linked to smoking.
Toys have been seized and as well as breaching the Olympic Trade Marks, they can pose a threat to children’s health. Other counterfeit items include clothing, sportswear and mobile phone accessories.
“If it’s a fake, it's poor quality and consumer rights are compromised," the Minister said.
"Don't let criminals take advantage of the London 2012 Olympic Games, this unique event that promotes the UK at its best. The Intellectual Property Office will continue to work hard with LOCOG, law enforcement and industry towards making 2012 fake free Games and together, we will ensure that we reduce the negative impact that counterfeit goods have on our economy. “
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