Luxury brand Cartier is seeking a High Court injunction demanding Internet service providers block websites they claim have been using their trademarked logos for counterfeiting activity.
The case, which is being heard at the High Court of Justice, is believed to be the first instance where a company has demanded sites be blocked over the use of trademarks, rather than over copyright infringements.
Campaigning organisation the Open Rights Group have raised concerns about the legal action claiming that: “If the claimants are successful, the ruling could be used as a basis for applications for blocking orders that are contrary to the public interest.”
Lawyer David Allen Green, acting for the Open Rights Group, added: “A whole website could be blocked just because of the activities of a few sellers. Or a rights holder may threaten to apply for an injunction on the pretext of an alleged infringement when all that is happening is unwelcome consumer criticism or parody.”
The ISPs involved in the legal action, BSkyB, BT, EE, TalkTalk and VirginMedia issued a rare joint statement saying: "“This claim raises important and untested legal issues including whether ISPs should be ordered to block websites which sell trademark infringing goods. We think that it’s right for this question to be subjected to the scrutiny of the courts.”
The Drum contacted Cartier for comment but had received no reply at the time of publication.