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Website blocking orders

Cartier Int. AG and Others v BSkyB and Others 17 October 2014

The High Court has granted orders that several ISPs, including BSkyB, BT and Virgin Media, do block, or impede, access to six websites said to be infringing trademarks.

Copyright holders can already get injunctions against ISPs, who know their services are being used to infringe copyright.

The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, however, does not provide trademark holders with a right to obtain a similar order.

The High Court, applying s37 (1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, found that the court had jurisdiction to ensure domestic legislation be construed to conform, or achieve, the result intended by the European Directive.

On this basis, the court was able to grant a blocking order, finding that the ISPs had an “essential role” as it was their services that enabled the website operators infringing trademarks to communicate with 95% of UK broadband users.

In making the Order, the court did however impose a number of safeguards including:

Permitting the ISPs to apply to discharge or vary the order.

Requiring the Internet page displayed to state, not only was the page blocked by court order, but that affected users had the right to apply to court to discharge, or vary, the order.

That the order would cease to have effect at the end of a defined period, suggested as two years, unless ISP agreed, or the court extended, the order.

Tim Toomey, Partner, Commercial Litigation
3 November 2014

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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