Court stamps on internet counterfeits

Posted: 26th November 2014

RCJOn application of the proprietors of a stable of luxury brands – including Montblanc and Cartier – the High Court has taken robust action to stem the enormous tide of counterfeit goods making their way into Britain via the open door of the Internet.

Granting injunctions requiring Internet service providers (ISPs) to block, or at least inhibit, five piratical websites, the Court noted that, in 2005 alone, the international trade in counterfeit goods had been valued at up to $200 billion. That figure was expected to rise to a staggering $960 billion by 2015.

Luxury brands owner Richemont International launched proceedings against five ISPs, which together controlled 95 per cent of the UK broadband market, requiring them to take steps to block or inhibit the five websites which were solely engaged in advertising and selling fake luxury goods.

In granting the orders sought, the Court found that the measures were proportionate to the costs incurred by the ISPs in implementing them. The blocking of the target websites was the only realistic means of protecting Richemont from wholesale infringement of its trade marks. The orders were of deterrent value and past experience showed that such measures were effective in greatly reducing UK traffic to websites dealing in pirated or counterfeit goods.