Trading Standards Conduct Largest Ever Seizure Of Counterfeit Gaming Devices

Friday 6th March/... A raid at a detached house in Surrey has resulted in the largest seizure of its kind in the UK in the fight against illegal game copying devices. A web-based business was alleged to be importing and selling Nintendo DS™ copying devices worldwide via the internet. Her Majesty’s Revenue&Customs (HMRC) knew something was wrong when large consignments of the illegal game copying devices started showing up at airports across the UK. These were seized and HMRC alerted IP investigators from ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association).

ELSPA’s anti-piracy team worked with Surrey Trading Standards culminating in the Surrey raid where they discovered thousands of game copying devices which allegedly infringe both the Trade Marks Act 1994 and Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. The items have been seized and sent for forensic examination by ELSPA.

At the house investigators discovered a fully operational‘production line’ along with a fully detailed trading history for the business. Records found at the property revealed evidence of trading worth£hundreds of thousands. A simultaneous raid at a second business premises was carried out by the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames Trading Standards, but the premises were found to be empty.

Financial investigations have now begun with a view to restraining any assets connected with criminal conduct.

Michael Rawlinson, Director General of ELSPA, said:“This case demonstrates the enormous financial risk faced by those who import and sell illegal copying devices. ELSPA would like to thank HMRC, the thorough and professional investigation by Surrey Trading Standards department and ELSPA investigators. Together they continue to prove that increasingly pirates are paying very high prices for pursuing illegal business activities that rob our industry of their innovative IP.”

Peter Denard, Head of Surrey Trading Standards, added:“We are committed to working with ELSPA and rights owners on criminal activity of this kind. We will respond to requests where there is evidence of intellectual property theft in Surrey, which causes huge detriment to legitimate businesses. This type of crime will not be tolerated in Surrey and criminals can expect to be pursued to the full extent of the law and risk losing both their liberty and ill-gotten gains.”

The maximum penalty upon conviction for offences under the Trade Marks Act is an unlimited fine and/or up to 10 years imprisonment.

Ends.

EDITORS NOTES

About ELSPA - http://www.elspa.com

ELSPA (The Entertainment&Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

ELSPA’s activities include: Official Chart and Industry Reports, Anti-Piracy UK and EU, PR and Communication, Events. More information on all these activities can be found at http://www.elspa.com.

About Software Piracy and its negative impact on both consumers and industry.

ELSPA estimates criminal gain through computer and video games piracy sits at approximately£600 million.

Piracy/counterfeiting is illegal and punishable by fines and jail sentences.

The illegal copying of software poses the very real threat of criminal prosecution and a criminal record, as well as the risk of massive personal financial loss under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Consumers have no recourse under law for faulty pirated games, which can damage hardware. Local and national jobs are lost as result of pirate operations.

For further information on ELSPA or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Sarah Hartland/Gary Burns

Barrington Harvey

Tel: 01462 456780

Fax: 01462 456781

Email: sarah.hartland@bhpr.co.uk / gary.burns@bhpr.co.uk

Issued by: Barrington Harvey, Trooper’s Yard, Bancroft, Hitchin SG5 1JW


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