Cartier Wins Court Order Blocking Sites Selling Fake Watches

  • Internet providers must block sites offering counterfit items
  • IP crime costs U.K. economy billions a year in lost profits

A Montre Calibre De Cartier Diver wristwatch.

Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg

Luxury brands Cartier and Montblanc won a U.K. court ruling that orders Internet providers to block websites selling counterfeit goods including watches and pens.

U.K. Internet service providers such as Sky Plc, BT Group Plc and TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc must prevent access to five sites, including montblancebay.com, because they infringe the companies’ trademarks by selling fake goods, Judge Richard Hacon said in a ruling issued Tuesday.

Intellectual property crime costs the U.K. economy about 1.3 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) a year in lost profits and taxes, according to a 2014 U.K. government report. A 2011 report from the International Chamber of Commerce said that the global economic impact of counterfeiting and piracy trade would reach $1.7 trillion by 2015.

The ruling is the second time a London judge has been asked by the luxury brands to block websites selling fake goods.

The ISPs weren’t represented in court and took a neutral stance on blocking the sites, telling the judge in written documents that closing five websites may not make "any difference to the scale of infringement," Hacon said.

“We block websites as and when directed to by a court order,” a TalkTalk spokesman said in an e-mail.

The other ISPs didn’t immediately respond to calls and e-mails requesting comment. 

“This case represents a positive step in the fight to protect brands and customers from the sale of counterfeit goods online," Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of Cartier and Montblanc, said in a statement. "There is a public interest in preventing trademark infringement, particularly where counterfeit goods are involved."

The case is Cartier International v British Telecommunications Plc, U.K. High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC2015004980

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