Features

Website blocking and anti-counterfeiting – new weapon or flash in the pan?

By Ann Ford, Ulrike Grübler and Melinda Upton

Originally developed to target internet service providers hosting websites with pirated content, website blocking orders have occasionally been applied to websites selling counterfeit goods. Could they be a powerful new weapon for brand owners?

Two new studies published by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) – now the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) – reveal that €3.5 billion per year is lost as a result of fake jewellery, watches, handbags and luggage in the European Union alone. This is equivalent to between 12% and 13% of sales and translates to 27,000 jobs, directly as a result of counterfeiting in those sectors. The reports are the fifth (https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/observatory/ipr_infringement_jewellery_and_watches) and sixth (https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/observatory/ipr_infringement_handbags_and_luggage) in a series of studies (https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/observatory/quantification-of-ipr-infringement) on the economic impact of counterfeiting in industrial sectors in the European Union released by the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights. The series previously looked at the toys and games sector, the sports goods sector, the clothes, shoes and accessories sector and the cosmetics and personal care sector. All the reports have revealed the tremendously damaging effect of counterfeiting, and that it is on the rise due to the increasing volume of online sales.

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Issue 70