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London 'crime unit' to target downloaders as part of UK copyright and patent initiatives

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UK Flag (Flickr - ReeSaunders)
UK Flag (Flickr - ReeSaunders)

Vince Cable, the United Kingdom's Business Secretary, announced a set of new intellectual property initiatives yesterday aimed at improving the way IP is approved and protected in the UK. Speaking at The Big Innovation Centre in London, Cable outlined several different measures, including a sped-up patent processing service that can deliver patents in just three months — it currently can take years — as well as informational campaigns aimed at younger individuals that are more likely to engage in pirating copyrighted material. Cable also said that a special crime unit, aimed specifically at illegal downloaders, would be created in partnership with the City of London police.

The changes come in response to a report issued in May that assessed the state of intellectual property in the country, which suggested a wide range of changes in an effort to solve existing problems and improve the economy. According to Cable, the new initiatives he outlined will go into effect in 2013.