Tech Law

Cartier wins court case against ISPs to block counterfeit websites


By Natalie Mortimer | N/A

July 6, 2016 | 3 min read

Cartier owner Richemont has today (6 July) won a landmark court case against five UK Internet Service Providers ISPs), including Sky and BT, to obtain orders requiring ISPs to block access to websites selling counterfeit goods online.

The decision follows an appeal by Sky, BT, EE, TalkTalk and Virgin Media who challenged a 2014 High Court ruling that can obtain such blocking orders.

With counterfeit websites a rising problem for luxury brands the ruling could pave the way for brands to tackle the issue in a way that is both trackable and cost efficient. In short, the process enables trademark owners to track changes and movements in counterfeit selling websites and respond to those movements by updating the ISP blocks.

Cartier watch


According to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the EU Intellectual Property Office, international trade in counterfeit and pirated products reached a value of $461bn by 2013.

Simon Baggs, partner at law firm Wiggin IP Partner, who defended Richemont commented: "This case is about using technology to stop the activities of unlawful websites.

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

"The court has recognised that often the best way for online unlawful activity to be stopped is for intermediaries such as ISPs to cut the Internet lifeblood that the websites need to trade. Site blocking is a developing area in many jurisdictions globally and this judgment should further enable the growth of this important remedy”.

BT et al brought the case arguing that the court could not order site blocking, contending that the law in the UK did not specifically allow for this. However, the Court of Appeal disagreed and confirmed the High Court's decision, ruling that activities of the websites in issue and other online counterfeiters caused “significant damage” to Richemont and that blocking these sites would likely be highly effective.

Tech Law

More from Tech Law

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +