French watch and jewelry label Cartier and German luxury watch, pen and jewelry brand Montblanc brought their case before the High Court in London after attempts to negotiate with UK internet service providers failed to bring a response. The two brands had contacted ISPs including BT, Sky, TalkTalk, EE and Virgin Media asking them to block access to websites selling knock-off Cartier and Montblanc products. The ISPs reportedly resisted the request to block consumer access to the sites on the grounds that the sale of other lawfully marketed goods may be affected. On Wednesday, Justice Richard Hacon awarded a website-blocking order for several online counterfeit outlets, concluding that the ISPs 'had continued to allow the websites to market the counterfeit products' despite warnings from Cartier and Montblanc. The ISPs have been given the opportunity to appeal the ruling.
The ruling marks the second time that a London court has ruled in favour of Cartier in its crusade to block consumer access to websites selling goods which infringe upon Cartier trademarks and intellectual property. In 2014, Judge Richard Arnold ordered UK ISPs to 'block, or at least impede' access to websites selling goods which infringed upon the IP of Cartier parent company Compagnie Financiere Richemont, in a decision described as one of the first of its kind in Europe. A Frontier Economics report cited in the ruling estimated that the global sale of counterfeited and pirated goods would be worth $960bn by 2015. At the time, Richemont spokesperson Elizabeth Snow praised the test case ruling as a win for both luxury brands and consumers. Sources: The Fashion Law; Bloomberg Business; IPPro The Internet