Internet service providers have been lobbied to take down websites that offer counterfeit goods from major brands, such as Cartier and Montblanc, whose owners Richemont are the authors of the lawsuit.
The massive brand owner, fully known as Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A., were on the warpath due to the counterfeiters, who had been a major thorn in the group’s side. The group won the case leveled against UK ISPs including Sky, TalkTalk, BT, Virgin Media, EE and Telefonica/O2.
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Previously the ISPs fought against the lawsuit, complaining that Richemont hadn’t done enough themselves to take down the sites. The case climbed up through the courts, finally ending up at the top, in the UK High Court.
The final ruling by the High Court meant that the above ISPs must now block all access to the aforementioned counterfeit sites, in the same way that they currently block access to Torrent sites such as the Pirate Bay. A ‘Site Blocked’ messages is shown upon attempted access, and the site is unreachable.
Currently the domains cartierloveonline.com, hotcartierwatch.com, iwcwatchtop.com, replicawatchesiwc.com, 1iwc.com, montblancpensonlineuk.com, ukmontblancoutlet.co.uk are the only ones named and taken down, but Richemont is in the process of identifying thousand of other potential infringers.
Richemont spoke to TorrentFreak, a site that covers issues of copyright infringement and website blocking, and made a statement.
“We are pleased by this judgment and welcome the Court’s recognition that there is a public interest in preventing trade mark infringement, particularly where counterfeit goods are involved. The Courts had already granted orders requiring ISPs to block sites for infringement of copyright in relation to pirated content. This decision is a logical extension of that principle to trademarks,” the company said.
Wiggin LLP represented Richemont in court, and also made a statement on the issue.
“In a comprehensive judgment, the court has considered the enforcement methods that are presently available to trademark owners when tackling infringement online. The court has concluded that Internet Service Providers play ‘an essential role’ and that the court can and should apply Article 11 of the Enforcement Directive to require the application of technical measures to impede infringement of trademarks,” Wiggin said.
The decision is rumored to be appealed by ISPs, who already have their hands full keeping myriad streaming and Torrent sites from resurfacing. As we all know, when a site is blocked, usually two or more copycats ‘mirror’ sites rise as a result. Counterfeiting is a big earner, no doubt the sites will return.
Source: UK High Court of Justice
Via: Torrent Freak