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ISPs Entitled to Recover Cost of Blocking Rip-off Sites

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

Copyright violation is rife on the Internet, with ‘knock-off’ copies of branded goods being regularly offered on trading sites and whole websites set up to offer imitations of name brands.

The response of several luxury brands that are particularly affected was to obtain a ruling that Internet service providers (ISPs) could be compelled to prevent access by their subscribers to websites which sell counterfeit items.

However, implementing such orders is a significant cost for the ISPs, which have argued that the expense of undertaking the necessary action should not be theirs alone, but should also fall on the brand owners whose commercial rights their actions are protecting. The argument went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that in such cases, the brand owners will have to meet the ISPs’ reasonable costs of implementing and maintaining the blocks.

Counterfeiting is a major problem, causing an estimated £50 billion loss to traders in Europe annually. For advice on dealing with unfair competition or illegal trade practices, contact us.

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