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About PIPCU

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is a department of the City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud. It was established in 2013 with the responsibility to investigate and deter serious and organised intellectual property crime in the United Kingdom.

It is based in City of London Police’s headquarters at Guildhall Yard East. The unit comprises of a team of 19 police officers and staff, including detectives and police staff investigators.

Part of PIPCU’s remit is to protect consumers from harm, focusing on intellectual property crime that has public safety implications. Since its inception, it has investigated intellectual property crime worth more than £100 million concerning counterfeit goods or digital piracy, and suspended more than 30,000 websites selling counterfeit goods. These websites have also been linked to identity theft.

History

The operationally independent unit was launched in September 2013 with funding from the UK Government Intellectual Property Office (IPO). It was announced in August 2017 that PIPCU will receive a further £3.2 million from the IPO to fund the unit to June 2019.

PIPCU began Operation Creative to disrupt and prevent websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content in partnership with the creative and advertising industries. Rights holders in the creative industries can report copyright infringing websites to PIPCU, providing a detailed package of evidence indicating how the site is involved in illegal copyright infringement. Research has shown that there has been a 64% decrease in advertising from the UK’s top ad spending companies on copyright infringing websites and an 87% drop in adverts for licensed gambling operators being displayed on illegal sites that infringe copyright. 

Operation Ashiko was created to targets the sale of online physical counterfeit goods and aims to seize the domains of infringers. 

In April 2017, PIPCU launched the IP Crime Directory, a database for customs and police officers to help them identify counterfeit goods with the information uploaded by rights and brand holders.​



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