Intellectual property crime

Intellectual property enforcement

Intellectual property enforcement

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property refers to creative work which can be treated as an asset or physical property.

A trademark is any sign which can distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. A sign includes words, logos, colours, slogans, three-dimensional shapes and sometimes even sounds and gestures.

Counterfeit goods are manufactured using trademarks, trade names or other devices, to make them look like genuinely produced, popular branded goods.

Find out more at the Intellectual Property Office.


Keeping Fife Fake Free

Trading Standards enforcement officers regularly inspect the markets and events that take place throughout the year in Fife. They vary in size from well-attended annual events to small, local car boot sales held in car parks.

Many markets and sales have become an attractive venue for sellers of counterfeit goods. Our officers are experienced at detecting illegal merchandise and will use their powers to seize the goods and have the owner prosecuted.

Our enforcement officers also carry out checks of well known online selling sites for counterfeit goods being sold in Fife.

We work in partnership with other enforcement bodies like Police Scotland, HMRC and industry funded bodies such the Federation against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group to combat the issue.


Dangers of buying counterfeits

Counterfeiters don’t limit themselves to fake designer handbags and clothing anymore. Cigarettes, alcohol, electrical products, power tools, food, medicines, toys and sports equipment are also copied with potentially dangerous consequences for you as a consumer.

  • Fake alcohol can contain the chemical methanol, which can cause blindness, coma and death.

  • Fake beauty products often contain sub-standard ingredients that could give you a rash or an allergic reaction. Some fake perfume has been found to contain urine, used as a stabiliser.

  • Electrical goods sold in the UK are subject to stringent safety testing. Counterfeit electrical goods sidestep these testing requirements. Fake electrical goods may contain unsafe wiring that can lead to over-heating creating a risk of fire, electrocution and personal injury. Fake electrical goods may even be labelled with fake certification marks, so you think that they are safe.

  • Children’s toys are also subject to strict safety testing. Counterfeit toys won't have been tested in the same way and can contain small parts that are a choking hazard.


Reasons you should never buy counterfeits

  • Counterfeiting is illegal; buying counterfeit products can support illegal activity.

  • Counterfeiters don't pay taxes meaning less money for your community's schools, hospitals and parks.

  • Counterfeiters don't pay their employees fair wages or benefits, have poor working conditions, and often use forced child labour.

  • The profits from counterfeiting has been linked to funding organised crime, drug trafficking and terrorist activity.

  • When you buy a fake, you become part of the cycle of counterfeiting and your money directly supports these things you would never want to support.


How can you help?




Trading Standards
Tel: 01592 583141 Fax: 01592 583318 Contact Trading Standards online
By Post: Kingdom House Kingdom Avenue Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LY
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