40% of businesses take no action to ensure their intellectual property is protected

Many businesses are not doing anything to ensure they protect their intellectual property despite an understanding of the need to protect it, according to new government research.

The research showed that:

40% of businesses surveyed took no practical action such as trade mark registration or employee training to ensure their and others IP is protected.

A third of businesses surveyed were not aware whether goods sold on their premises by external traders were legitimate or not.

Out of those who knew that employees were selling DVDs at work, nearly a fifth knew that these were counterfeit and still allowed such illegal activity to take place.

Similarly, over a quarter of respondents do not make staff aware that they must not download illegal content at work.

The research also uncovered a worrying trend amongst managers to pass on responsibility in this area. Nearly 30% of those who said they wouldn't prevent employees / colleagues from buying counterfeit goods at work took no action because they said it was not their responsibility to do so.

Deputy chief constable Giles York, chair of the Intellectual Property Office's IP Crime Group, which conducted the research, said: ‘It is clear from this survey that many directors and managers are unaware of the damaging effect IP theft can have on their companies and themselves personally.’

Ed Quilty, director of copyright and IP enforcement at the Intellectual Property Office, commented: ‘Intellectual property is central to the UK economy and therefore businesses of all sizes cannot afford to be complacent in respecting its value - ensuring effective measures are in place to prevent workplace IP crime are an important part of this. I am pleased that the IP Crime Group will take a leading role in highlighting this problem as part of their work.’