Web Site Blocking: Not Just for Copyright

October 16, 2014

In a fascinating, but very long (266 paras), judgment, Mr Justice Arnold has made an order requiring ISPs to block six web sites that sell counterfeit goods such as fake Cartier bracelets. The judgment in Cartier, Montblanc and Richemont v BSkyB, BT, TalkTalk, EE and Virgin (Open Rights Group intervening) [2014] EWHC 3354 (Ch) ranges from the efficacy and cost of the many past copyright breach blocks through an analysis of the EU law in this area and ends with the judge concluding that there is jurisdiction to make blocking orders in these circumstances and making an order which largely follows that sought by the claimants (subject to some additional ‘safeguards’. As Mr Justice Arnold stated (at [2]):

‘The application raises five main questions. First, does this Court have jurisdiction to make an order of the kind sought? Secondly, if the Court has jurisdiction, what are the threshold conditions, if any, which must be satisfied if the Court is to make an order? Thirdly, are those conditions satisfied in the present case? Fourthly, if those conditions are satisfied, what are the principles to be applied in deciding whether or not to make such an order? Fifthly, applying those principles, should such orders be made in the present case?

The full judgment can be read here. Given the very large number of similar sites on the Internet selling fake goods, it seems likely that this will be the first order of a number of the same type. Given some of the principles applied in the judgment, it may also open the door to even more orders, not just those relating to trade marks.