UK ISPs ordered to block sites selling counterfeit goods

The UK High Court has demanded that Internet service providers (ISPs) block access to sites selling counterfeit goods.

TalkTalk, Sky, BT, Virgin Media, O2 and EE have been ordered to block websites offering fake versions of trademarked items, following a complaint by luxury goods firm Rochemont.

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The company, which is behind major brands such as Cartier and Montblanc, successfully argued that the sites were infringing on its trademarks by selling counterfeit products. The ruling marks the first time a website has been blocked over the use of trademarks, with most complaints centring on copyright infringement.

TechWeekEurope reported that the company was delighted with the ruling.

"We are pleased by this judgement and welcome the Court's recognition that there is a public interest in preventing trademark infringement, particularly where counterfeit goods are involved," said a Richemont spokesperson.

"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 list of blocked sites currently includes cartierloveonline.com, hotcartierwatch.com, iwcwatchtop.com, replicawatchesiwc.com, 1iwc.com, montblancpensonlineuk.com and ukmontblancoutlet.co.uk, but Richemont has said that it will continue to prosecute any other sites that infringe on its trademarks.

The law firm behind the ruling, Wigan LLP, called the judgment, "comprehensive."

"The court has considered the enforcement methods that are presently available to trade mark owners when tackling infringement online,"

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"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."

Image Credit: Nilda Barales