Counterfeits and website blocking orders

The English Court of Appeal today confirmed the High Court’s ability to grant website blocking orders against Internet Service Providers requiring them to block websites that carry counterfeits. Following this judgment we would expect such orders to become relatively routine; it is likely that many such applications will be dealt with on paper without the need for a hearing. 

The ISPs were ordered to pay the costs of implementing the blocking. This is likely to be the position generally for such orders going forward, although the Court made clear that there may be individual instances where the brand owner will have to pay.

Although such orders have been granted in copyright cases for some time, this case confirms that the Court has the power to grant website blocking orders in respect of trade mark infringement too. The Court also emphasised that its discretion to make such orders was a broad one, so that it is likely to extend to other intellectual property rights too.  

The claimants were Cartier International, Montblanc-Simplo and Richemont International and the defendants were five ‘household name’ ISPs – British Sky Broadcasting, British Telecommunications, EE, Talktalk Telecom and Virgin Media.

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