The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit ("PIPCU") has been given the Intellectual Property Champions Award for Excellence in Enforcement by the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center.
The award is in recognition of PIPCU's excellent work in anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting. It is also the first time that the award has been presented to a non-US entity. Launched in 2013, PIPCU has been responsible for, amongst other things, closing down illegal sports streaming sites, ebook providers and torrent sites.
However it does not only focus on digital infringement, and its officers can often be found inspecting actual counterfeits, as it had before charging a man with importing fake car airbags in 2017.
It is also the agency behind the recent drive to reduce the use of illegal set-top boxes (often known as Kodi boxes). PIPCU does not, however, tackle this the old way: by barging in to people's living rooms and confiscating the hardware. In fact, its approach is far more technical and civil than that: it targets the people streaming the illegal content to the boxes, thereby making the boxes themselves nothing more than decorative.
While most intellectual property infringement is resolved by a rights-holder enforcing their own rights, it can only be beneficial to also have a police-led unit trying to prevent infringement also.
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