The UK government has invested £3m into the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), a force designed to fight against digital piracy and counterfeit goods.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the minister for intellectual property, has announced the funding during the Anti-Counterfeiting Group Conference in London.
As a result, the one-year-old PIPCU will operate for at least an additional two years, leading through to 2017.
Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “We’ve seen significant success in PIPCU’s first year of operation and this extra support will help the unit to build on this impressive record in the fight against intellectual property crime, which costs the UK at least £1.3bn a year in lost profits and taxes.
“With more money now being invested in ideas than factories or machinery in the UK, it is vital that we protect creators and consumers and the UK’s economic growth.”
Jim Cormack, a partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, told The Drum: “This is a key area for law enforcement to tackle in order to drive the development of a technology based economy. The extra funding is very welcome but of course needs to be deployed effectively in further developing specialist police expertise in this area.
“If cases are to be successfully brought before the courts, then it is also vital that expert prosecutors are also available. It is key for law enforcement agencies to liaise effectively with technology owners to obtain information and evidence about their rights. Extra resources are very important but just part of the picture.”
Eddy Leviten, director general of the Alliance for Intellectual Property, told the Drum: "We are delighted that PIPCU has secured additional funding allowing it to continue the excellent work of tackling IP crime in all forms.
"In its first year PIPCU has shown itself to be at the forefront of innovative solutions to disrupt criminal activity, protect UK jobs and help IP be the driving force for the UK economy and is now an integral part of the enforcement landscape."
In September, the force apprehended a 27-year-old man running multiple live sports streaming sites apparently costing the UK TV industry £10m annually.