NFIB: UK-lead for international alliance targeting online counterfeiters
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, working in partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Europol and European Member States, have seized or disrupted 328 website domains worldwide involved in the sale of counterfeit goods since Autumn 2012.
‘Operation In Our Sites’ (IOS) has seen the Intellectual Property Rights Centre and Europol receiving leads from various trademark holders regarding the infringing websites. These leads have been disseminated to the investigating US ICE and Europol Member States: UK, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain.
The NFIB is the UK lead for IOS and has participated in the coordinated disruption of 51 UK website domains selling counterfeit trademark merchandise, with estimated savings of at least £10,000 per online platform. This marked a 100% success rate on the domains supplied by the operation.
Visitors typing those domain names into their web browsers will now find a banner (example below) that notifies them of the seizure and educates them about intellectual property crimes.
Deputy Director of the NFIB, DCI Pete O’Doherty said:
“The selling of counterfeit goods is increasingly moving from street stalls to online platforms, making it more difficult to track those responsible and disrupt their criminal networks. ‘Operation In Our Sites’ marks a shift in policy, with an international alliance coming together to take decisive action to identify and shut down websites being used by counterfeiters to sell their illegal goods.”
“It is important to stop the sale of counterfeit products over the internet as it undermines legitimate businesses and also often causes health and safety risks to consumers. This successful transatlantic operation sends an important message to the criminals showing them that they cannot hide despite the fact that they are operating via the internet,” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.