Cartier loses landmark legal battle against counterfeiters

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Cartier’s owner has lost a landmark legal case in the Supreme Court this morning as it was ruled that the retailer must foot the bill to block sites selling counterfeit goods.

Richemont, which owns luxury brands including Cartier, Montblanc and watch retailer IWC, had previously won the right to obtain injunctions, forcing internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to sites selling goods which infringed on its trademarks or sold fraudulent goods.

Historically ISPs have picked up the bill for blocking websites which infringe on copyright material such as music, and Richemont argued that this should also be the case for trademarks.

However, it was dealt a blow today when the UK court ruled that the luxury brands would have to pay for the injunctions, including court and implementation cost.

“It’s good news for ISPs and bad news for brand owners today as the Supreme Court in Cartier & Ors v BT & Anor, overturned the decisions at First Instance and the Court of Appeal and ruled that ISPs do not have to bear the costs of implementing a blocking injunction (requiring them to block access to specified “target websites” selling counterfeit goods),” Keystone Law’s Karen Fong said.

“It therefore falls on the brand owners making such applications to bear these costs in addition to the costs of the application.

“The Court took the view that website blocking injunctions were made by brand owners to further their own commercial interests and they should not be entitled to seek contribution of such costs from any party other than the infringers.

“In blocking injunctions for copyright cases, the Courts have always ordered the ISPs to bear the costs of implementation of the injunctions whilst the brand owners bear the costs of the application.  Will this decision change things?”

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