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Cartier wins landmark ruling to order ISPs to block infringing websites

Cartier parent company Richemont has won a legal battle to introduce a High Court injunction that will require internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites using its trademarks.

The case 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.

The court has concluded that ISPs, including BSkyB, BT, EE, TalkTalk and VirginMedia, play "an essential role" and that the court can and should require they take steps to impede infringement of trade marks.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Richemont said the ruling represents a “positive step” in the fight to protect brands and customers from the sale of counterfeit goods online.

“We are pleased by this judgment and welcome the court's recognition that there is a public interest in preventing trade mark infringement, particularly where counterfeit goods are involved.

“The courts had already granted orders requiring ISPs to block sites for infringement of copyright in relation to pirated content. This decision is a logical extension of that principle to trade marks.”

The ISPs involved in the case issued a rare joint statement earlier this month which claimed the case raised “important and untested legal issues” arguing that the luxury brand was trying to "invent a new duty," for service providers that "went against the principle of English law".

Cartier stressed the dispute is to protect customers not "restrict" freedom of speech.

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