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website blocking order awarded to combat trade mark infringement

22 October 2014

Mr Justice Arnold in the High Court has awarded Cartier, Montblanc and Richemont an order requiring defendant Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block or impede access by subscribers to six websites advertising and selling counterfeit goods and thereby infringing the claimant’s trade marks.

Similar orders have previously been made for copyright infringement under s97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

This decision allows mark owners to enforce their rights where it may be difficult to bring an action against an infringer directly. This is the first application to combat trade mark infringement against ISPs in the EU and is likely to be followed by similar applications. The impact of this decision therefore remains to be seen.

Concerns were raised about the potential for this decision to limit ISP’s and subscribers’ rights and thereby restrict legitimate activity or free speech. The judgment however provides that similar thresholds must be met to those applicable to copyright infringement and any order granted should be proportionate and fairly balanced.

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Declan Cushley

Declan Cushley

Partner and Head of IP and Commercial Group

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