To prevent the storage of counterfeit and illegal goods in U.K. self-storage units, the Intellectual Property Office, Self Storage Association of the United Kingdom and Wales Heads of Trading Standards have launched a new initiative called Tick Box, a cooperative effort through which self-storage operators voluntarily adopt a “code of practice” for screening tenants and deterring criminal activity. The aim of the program is to get self-storage owners and managers more actively engaged in understanding what items are being stored inside their facilities.
“Figures from enforcement agencies show that increasing quantities of counterfeit goods are being seized in, or en route to, self-storage facilities,” according to the Tick Box website. “If the owner is found to have turned a blind eye to the activity, [he] may face legal action.”
Storage operators who join the program agree to ask customers for photo identification and proof of address when renting a unit. They also agree to “provide reasonable assistance” with local trading-standards officers in any “investigations relating to the storage of counterfeit goods and other unlawful activity,” according to the list of codes. Other provisions include making the public aware of the campaign by displaying the code of practice in a prominent place at a facility and formally making tenants aware of the codes when completing a rental agreement.
“We were delighted to be approached to become a Tick Box member, and following a simple audit, we can now display the Tick Box logo,” Philip Leech, director of Montague Storage Ltd. in Warwick, England, told the source. “This scheme, which is entirely free, has enabled us to demonstrate to our customers that we are a genuine, trusted and responsible business in this industry.”
Local trading-standards offices are engaged in the program and available to help self-storage operators identify counterfeit goods and provide advice in relation to copyright and trademark infringement that may occur on their property. “We anticipate that the Tick Box scheme will discourage counterfeiters and others from using these facilities and so disrupt the trade in illegal goods,” John Horner, a spokesperson with the Warwickshire County Council, told the source.
The program is also supported by several advocacy and business organizations, as well as law-enforcement agencies.