Web Knock-Offs - Stopping the Rot

The Internet is a market for all sorts of goods – including 'knock-off' copies of well-known brands. These are widely available through e-commerce websites around the world.

In 2011, the UK brought in legislation which allows Internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that infringe copyright. The orders have been widely used in the prevention of access to 'file sharing' sites, but not, until recently, with regard to sites that deal in goods which infringe trade marks, such as counterfeit branded goods.

Rather surprisingly, a 2014 decision which confirmed that ISPs can also block their customers from accessing such websites was appealed. The Court of Appeal has, however, recently confirmed the decision.

Vendors of name brands will be pleased to note that the brand owners will now be able to take stronger action to prevent the unfair competition that knock-off copies represent.