Cartier has scored a major legal victory in the fight against the sale of counterfeit trademarked goods online.
The Richemont-owned jewellery and watch house was at the Court of Appeal last week facing off against internet service provider (ISP) BSkyB. The court confirmed that ISPs can be ordered to block access to websites selling trademark infringing goods.
Richemont’s first victory in the battle against online fakes came in October 2014 when, at the time, UK laws protected against copyright infringement but infringement of trademarked goods. UK ISPs were already legally obliged to block access to websites offering pirated media such as music and films on request and will now be forced to do the same for those sites selling counterfeit goods.
Commenting on the recent ruling, London solicitors Fox Williams describes it as an important step in the fight against fakes as until now a brand ‘could not compel an ISP to permanently block a website selling goods that infringe a trade mark’.
Instead the brand was forced to monitor the website in question and then submit notice and takedown requests, an expensive and time-consuming process.
The ruling recognises that ‘even if ISPs are not guilty of any wrongdoing and not themselves infringing the trade marks, the websites need the services of the ISP to host the site and sell the infringing goods’.
Fox Williams now expect blocking applications to become a more commonplace, cost-effective and easier option to guard against trade mark infringement.