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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Launch of Manifesto for Brands: How Brands May Deliver More to the UK

  • December 12, 2014
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  • 12th December 2014

    Today The Manifesto for Brands is launched by the British Brands Group, the voice for brands in the UK, and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG) which campaigns against the trade in fakes. It outlines the significant contribution brands make to the country and proposes a six-point plan on how they may deliver even more.

    Brands already contribute significantly to the economic and social fabric of the UK. While delivering a choice of ever-improving products and services to individuals, brands also help companies grow faster, commercialise innovation, provide quality employment in manufacturing and other sectors and boost export performance. They also provide a strong positive force for responsible, sustainable business.

    John Noble, Director of the British Brands Group, said:
    “The penny is beginning to drop. Study after study shows the significant economic contribution that branding makes to the economy, effects that are felt locally, regionally and nationally. It continues to surprise, therefore, that branding does not feature more prominently in government policy. The UK, with its iconic brands and creative reputation, seems to be missing a trick when it comes to fully harnessing this power.”

    Chris Oldknow, Chairman of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, added:
    “The high value of brands sadly acts as a magnet to those out to exploit it unlawfully. Counterfeiting is a serious organised crime, harming individuals, the economy and society. It allows organised criminal gangs to raise huge amounts of cash that can then fund other forms of serious crime. It affects everyone. It brings criminals closer to our homes, destroys jobs and deprives local and national economies of much needed revenue. The protection of our valuable brands needs greater political attention and more resources for enforcement.”

    The Manifesto presents a six-point plan:
    • Place brands firmly within the UK economic policy
    • Provide the environment for brand growth
    • Stop the trade in fakes
    • Encourage companies to invest in brands
    • Allow people to make informed buying decisions
    • Allow communication with consumers

    A full copy of the Manifesto can be downloaded at:

    http://www.britishbrandsgroup.org.uk/upload/File/Manifesto%20for%20Brands%202015.pdf

     
    For any further information, please contact:
    John Noble (British Brands Group) on 01730 821212 or [email protected]
    Phil Lewis (ACG) on 01494 449165 or [email protected]

     

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    by dave

SFO Nails its First Convictions under New Bribery Laws

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  • Three men were jailed for masterminding a 23 million pound biofuel investment scam on Monday, in the first convictions by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) under tough new anti-bribery laws.

    The Britons were executives or agents of Sustainable AgroEnergy Plc, a company that promoted biofuel investment products linked to southeast Asian plantations of jatropha trees, once considered a wonder plant in the hunt for oil.

    “These three individuals preyed on investors, many of whom were duped into investing life savings and pension funds,” SFO director David Green said.

    2014-12-08T182617Z_2_LYNXMPEAB710R_RTROPTP_2_SFO-KAUPTHING
    A sign is displayed in an unmarked Serious Fraud Office vehicle parked outside a building, in Mayfair, central London – REUTERS/Andrew Winning

    The convictions are a welcome break for the SFO, which has been trying to restore confidence in its ability to bring criminals and companies to book after a series of failures in high-profile cases. An inspection report last month found the agency had made mixed progress in tackling its shortcomings.

    The SFO had been expected to be the leading prosecutor to use the Bribery Act, which came into force in 2011 to overhaul 122-year-old laws that were criticised for not giving prosecutors the tools to fight modern international crime.

    Previous charges under the Act, however, had been brought by its sister prosecutor the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

    A jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court found Gary West, 52, James Whale, 38, and Stuart Stone, 28, guilty of defrauding British investors between April 2011 and Feb. 2012, the SFO said. They were jailed for 13, 9, and 6 years respectively.

    All three were charged with fraud-related offences and West and Stone with bribery or receiving bribes in breach of the Bribery Act. A fourth man was acquitted of all charges against him.

    “The SFO has taken an important step forward in demonstrating its ability to police the Bribery Act,” said Omar Qureshi, head of anti-corruption at law firm CMS.

    The Act has been called one of the world’s toughest anti-corruption laws. Bribery offences committed by individuals now carry a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine and confiscation of assets.

    However, the SFO remains under pressure to bring a case under the much-debated section 7 of the Act, which introduced an offence of “failure to prevent bribery”, whereby a company can be prosecuted for failing to have “adequate procedures” to prevent active bribery by “associated persons”.

    Companies are also keen to see whether a corporate prosecution under this part of the Act will shed light on their liability for the conduct of such associated persons – and what the scope of the “adequate procedures” is.

    By Carolyn Cohn and Kirstin Ridley

    LONDON (Reuters)

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/uk-anti-fraud-agency-nails-first-convictions-under-182423097–sector.html#xmXVwuT

     

     

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    by dave

City of London Police Crackdown on Christmas Counterfeiters

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  • Counterfeit goods
    More than 1,500 suspected fake goods seized

    Detectives from the City of London Police’s dedicated IP crime unit (PIPCU) arrested three people in morning raids and seized more than 1,500 suspected fake goods on 9 Dec 2014 as part of a crackdown on counterfeit goods being sold online in the lead up to Christmas.  Yesterday’s operations form part of the force’s current ‘12 online Frauds of Christmas’ campaign which has been rolled out across the country to protect millions of people from falling victim to cyber-fraudsters.

    Detectives from PIPCU arrested a 31 year old man at his home on suspicion of selling counterfeit designer watches online following a referral from the Intellectual Property Crime Unit (IPCU).

    Upon searching his home, officers found and seized around 1,500 suspected fake watches from a range of top designer brands, which if sold at the genuine retail price are worth around £1million.

    With support from Leicestershire Police, the man was taken to a police station for questioning and later released on bail until May 2015.

    In Leeds, the unit arrested a 26 year old man and a 28 year old woman at two residential addresses following a referral from the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), a trade organisation which represents rights holders in the branded goods sector.

    The man and woman are suspected to be two of the UK’s top sellers on social media for counterfeit designer goods. Approximately 150 suspected fake goods were seized from the two properties including designer shoes, handbags, clothes and watches.

    They were taken to local police stations for questioning and cautioned by officers.

    Detective Chief Superintendent, Dave Clark,  said: “Yesterday’s action by our Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) sends home a strong message to anyone thinking of selling or buying fake goods that the police take this issue very seriously.

    “Counterfeit goods are cheap and shoddy versions of the original and the public need to be aware that they are potentially putting themselves at risk by buying them. Not only can fake goods, such as cosmetics or electrical items, be a risk to your health, but if you buy any counterfeit item online, you risk having your computer infected with viruses and malware or your financial details being compromised.

    “We would urge anyone who thinks they have unknowingly bought counterfeit goods this Christmas to report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk. Don’t forget if you believe someone is selling counterfeit goods, you can report it anonymously to Crimestoppers.”

    Tim Mascall, Director of the IP Crime Unit said: “The success of these raids once again show the value of having a dedicated police unit to coordinate the fight against intellectual property crime. The City of London Police’s anti-counterfeiting initiative in the run-up to Christmas is a timely reminder of the serious and insidious nature of product counterfeiting. It is important for us all to remember that this not the victimless cottage industry that the counterfeiters would have us believe, but rather a well organised international criminal enterprise, often with links to other types of serious crime.”

    Alison Statham, Director of Operations at the Anti Counterfeiting Group (ACG) said ‘’the ACG is committed to supporting agencies such as PIPCU in the fight against product counterfeiting and we welcome the action taken on Tuesday in Leeds. This was part of a broader multi-agency initiative to tackle this phenomenon. We are also grateful to our member brands who took part in the action, giving a clear message that a collaborative approach by law enforcement, industry and government is the only way forward to reduce this criminal activity.’’

    If you have unknowingly bought fake goods this Christmas, you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.

    If you suspect someone is selling counterfeit goods you can report it anonymously to Crimestoppers at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ or by calling 0800 555 111.

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    by dave

Surelock Takes Part in Camden Raid by Trading Standards Shown on the BBC Fake Britain

  • December 5, 2014
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  • Surelock personnel take part in multi-agency raids on one of the largest retailers in Camden selling £100,000’s worth of fake merchandise, including music artists’ clothing, mobile phone covers and Clipper lighters.  The action was filmed by the BBC for the “Fake Britain” programme.

    See the clip on the BBC iPlayer which starts 35 minutes into the programme (Note that this link will only be accessible for a limited period).

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04tt82v/fake-britain-series-5-episode-14

     

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    by dave

Big Brand Fake Merchandise Fraudster John Young Ordered to Pay Back £60k by Court

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  • The successful conclusion of this case follows investigative work carried out by Surelock.

    A Suffolk internet fraudster who sold fake JLS, Justin Bieber, Olly Murs, and One Direction clothing has been ordered to repay £60,000.

    John Young was jailed for 12 months at Ipswich Crown Court in August, but has now been made subject of a confiscation order to claw back money he made from his crime.

    The 53-year-old duped fans when selling the branded merchandise he had altered himself through eBay.

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    One of the 1D jackets sold by John Young

     

    At his confiscation hearing Young, of Sotterley Road, Hulver, near Beccles, was told he must pay back £59,983.69.

    He was given six months to hand the money over or face a further 20 months in prison in default.

    Young was caught following a 16-month investigation by Suffolk’s trading standards officers.

    At his plea hearing he admitted 13 breaches of trademark regulations between 2009 and 2013 and possessing a vinyl transfer machine for use in fraud.

    He also admitted three offences of making articles for use in fraud and asked for an offence relating to the sale of number plates without the necessary identity checks being made to be taken into consideration.

    Young had even said had he researched the sale of counterfeit goods on the internet.

    Although the prosecution claimed the trademark offences related to goods worth £120,000, Young only accepted they were worth £95,000 and although his gross sales from selling number plates were £75,000 his profit was only between £7,000-£10,000.

    Young purchased cheap items of clothing and used a heat transfer machine to apply trademarks.

    Before the recession Young, who had no previous convictions, had run a signs business.

    His family was then hit by several health problems and he had tried to help out his son after he was made redundant.

    http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/jls_olly_murs_one_direction_and_justin_bieber_fake_merchandise_

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    by dave

Counterfeit Toys Worth £500k Bound for Christmas Market are Seized in Salford

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  • Fake and dangerous toys, worth £500,000, heading for the Christmas market have been seized in Salford.

    Peppa Pig, Disney’s Frozen, Angry Birds, and Super Mario counterfeit goods were among the huge haul.

    Some are difficult to distinguish from the real products – but have no warnings or safety advice on the packaging and the materials have not been tested for use in toys which is required by law.

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    Gary Norton from Salford Trading Standards with the £500,000 worth of counterfeit toys

     

    In one business unit, council trading standards officers and police recovered over 7,000 counterfeit Super Mario toys, over 350 fake Samsung Galaxy mobile phones and 2,000 knock-off Disney Frozen loom band sets.

    In another, they seized 3,700 counterfeit toys, including 21 boxes of Frozen items, 20 boxes of Disney toys, 12 boxes of Spiderman toys and 10 of Toy Story.

    Salford’s deputy mayor, Coun David Lancaster, said: “It took officers eight transit van journeys, two combi van journeys and two trips in a people carrier just to remove all the items. Those not needed for court evidence will be crushed and recycled.

    “These counterfeit goods were targeted at children as young as four but contained sharp points, small parts which a child could choke on and lead in the paint used.

    “They were unsafe as well as ripping off legitimate brands. I am delighted we have been able to take them out of circulation.”

    The success came just days after Salford and Manchester councils and other partner agencies launched a campaign for “better business.”

    The aim is to make sure all businesses operate from a level playing field by making sure they comply with all the laws – ranging from employment and tax laws to copyright laws and fire safety in premises.

    Over the next few months, trading standards staff, officers from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Home Office illegal working and modern slavery teams, police, and the fire service will be visiting companies across Manchester and Salford.

    Coun Lancaster added: “It’s about offering advice on how to make sure they are operating legally, safely and ethically – as much as taking action where they are not. It’s to make sure that businesses who do comply with the law aren’t put at a disadvantage by those which don’t.”

    The goods came from two wholesalers in the Broughton area. Samples will now undergo safety testing.

    Due to the size of the seizure, trading standards officers say that prosecution of the companies is likely.

    http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/counterfeit-toys-worth-500k-bound-8222410

     

     

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    by dave