A new guide for businesses to make sure they don't fall foul of intellectual property laws has been launched by the Intellectual Property Office. Preventing Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Workplace provides companies with advice on how they can make sure they and their employees are not illegally using other people's intellectual property.
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Criminal IP offences can take place in the workplace in a variety of ways. These include employees selling copies of protected works or supplying fake goods within the working environment; company servers and equipment being used to make available infringing content to the Internet with the knowledge of management; using the work intranet to offer for sale infringing products to colleagues; external visitors entering your premises to sell counterfeit and pirated items; and using unlicensed software on business computer systems with the knowledge of management.
Copyright, patent, trade mark or design infringement could result in civil action or, in some cases of trade mark and copyright infringement criminal action being taken against the offending individual or company. If found guilty under criminal law, offenders are liable to a fine of up to £50,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to ten years.