UK High Court forces ISPs to block websites selling luxury goods

UK High Court forces ISPs to block websites selling luxury goods

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The British High Court of Justice as been the venue for a few noteworthy cases that have resulted in British ISPs being forced to block certain infringing websites. These have usually involved entertainment giants that want to make it harder for illegal file-sharing or peer-to-peer sites to connect with their users. The court has now given the ISPs a new target: websites selling counterfeit goods. Thought to be the first ruling of its kind in Europe, the High Court has today ordered that Sky, BT, Virgin, EE and TalkTalk (which collectively provide 95% of all British broadband) must block a handful of websites that sell fake versions of products made by luxury brands such as Cartier and Mont Blanc.

The judgement was based on a theory of trademark infringement The sites use real brand names and logos to appear to offer legitimate luxury items at deeply discounted prices. After discussions with British ISPs failed, Richemond, the parent company that owns the aforementioned brands, resorted to a lawsuit. The websites ISPs are being forced to block barely scratch the surface of infringing online retailers, and Richemond has thousands more to hand that it could go after in future litigation. More importantly, though, the ruling could set a precedent that will lead other companies to pursue similar action. Don't expect that the ruling will have any long-term impact. For every infringing site that is shut down, multiple replacements appear within days.

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