Luxury Goods vs Fakes

Luxury Goods vs Fakes

Everyone is aware that you can purchase goods that are replicas of well known brands. Following a recent case with brands such as Cartier and Montblanc, trademark owners can now force ISPs to block access to websites which advertise and sell fake goods.

The difficulty is that there is no express provision for a blocking injunction unlike with copyright. However, it was held that injunctions in relation to trade marks could be issued where it would be effective, proportionate and strike a fair balance between the protection of rights and those individuals affected by it.

The five defendants (the ISPs) supply internet access to 95% of the UK so the Court held that they had an essential role in communicating the fake content to the public. If the ISP cooperates then this would eliminate access to those fake sites. The cost of the blocking was held to not be disproportionate to the aim of assisting companies who were being copied. Finally, the public do not have a right to view material that breaches companies trademarks.

The Courts ordered the ISPs to block access to the sites in question which included cartierloveonline.com and replicawatchesiwc.com. This blocking is not permanent and the Court suggested a period of 2 years to ensure that legitimate businesses were not being affected. One downfall is that the blocked website can just set up another URL offering the same content.

It looks like UK law is changing in light of the technological growth over the years so when a company is being targeted by fake companies it should simplify the legal action and in turn reduce large bills.