Jewellery brand Cartier has been ordered to pay the costs of blocking websites which were advertising and selling counterfeit copies of its goods.
The internet service providers (ISPs) were innocent of any trademark infringement and only provided networks by which subscribers could access content.
It was found that it did not provide or store the counterfeit content. The court said that different considerations would apply were they engaged in caching or hosting the content.
Karen Fong of law firm Keystone Law said: “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 (Internet Service Providers) do not have to bear the costs of implementing a blocking injunction (requiring them to block access to specified “target websites” selling counterfeit goods).”
She added: “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. An ISP serves as an intermediary or a mere conduit and should be indemnified by the rights holder against the costs of complying with a website blocking order.
“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?”