City of London’s IP crime unit cracks down on 90 UK sites for selling counterfeit goods

By Jessica Davies | News Editor

December 3, 2013 | 2 min read

City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has suspended 90 UK websites as part of a crackdown on the selling of counterfeit goods online.

The unit has been working with Europol and US authorities to help suspend hundreds of websites found to be selling counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers.

The crackdown, which is part of the ongoing ‘In Our Sites – Transatlantic 3’ project, has resulted in 690 domain names in total across Europol’s member states which includes Belgium, France, Denmark, Hungary and Spain and the US.

The UK saw 90 sites suspended, with 303 in the Europol member states and a further 297 domain name seizures by the Homeland Security Investigations-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre in Washington DC for the US.

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PIPCU superintendent Bob Wishart said: “PIPCU is proud to be a part of this cross-party worldwide operation, which is committed to combating online intellectual property crime.

“The 90 websites we have suspended sends a clear warning out to anyone else who thinks they can sell counterfeit goods on the internet with little fear of ever being stopped.”

The police will not reveal which sites are being shut down, but it is likely they are ones that sell what it deems the most common counterfeit products seized each year. This includes headphones, sports jerseys, luxury goods, mobile phones and electronic accessories, personal care products, shoes, and toys.

The market becomes “flooded” with these kinds counterfeit goods in the run-up to Christmas, which are sold in stores, on street corners and online, according to the police leading to consumers being “ripped off” with “shoddy” products while also risking their own personal financial information.

The seized domain names are now in the custody of the governments involved in the crackdown, and anyone typing those URLs into their web browsers will now find a banner notifying them of what has happened and explaining the crime of intentional copyright infringement.

However, the websites are not understood to have been generating money by selling advertising.

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