TUESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2017
A new study titled "Research on Online Business Models Infringing Intellectual Property Rights - Phase 2" by the EUIPO investigates suspected trade mark infringing e-shops utilising previously used domain names and reveals the presence of over 27,000 fake e-shops selling IP infringing products in four EU countries: Sweden, UK, Germany and Spain.
The study indicates that what on the surface seems like thousands of unrelated e-shops are likely to be one or a few businesses marketing suspected trade mark infringing goods to European consumers.
- Executive summary can be found here.
- The study can be found here and
- The Phase 1 study can be found here.
A summary of the background and main issues covered:
- The EUIPO had already published an earlier Phase 1 study concerning online business models infringing intellectual property; this earlier report had coincided with the launch of the Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC3) at Europol, this new report is for Phase 2.
- Phase 1 was a qualitative study aiming to provide an overview of the different business models used to infringe IPR online; whereas Phase 2 is a quantitative study, which researches the specific business models and strategies in detail.
- The new Phase 2 EUIPO study builds on the initial Phase 1 findings and looks further into information of the extensive use being made by suspected infringers of intellectual property of domain names that were once used by famous people, organisations, foreign embassies, commercial businesses, etc.
- The phenomenon of re-registering expired famous domains was first reported by a Danish cybercrime expert who found that a large number of previously used domain names under the Danish domain .dk were being systematically re-registered by suspected infringers of trade marks to take advantage of the popularity of the domain names to attract traffic to new e-shops marketing suspected trade mark infringing goods.
- Study reveals that this practice, as identified in Denmark, also exists in the four selected countries, i.e. Sweden, Germany, UK and Spain, and to an even higher degree than expected.
- An analysis of 40 case examples seems to indicate that what on the surface seems like thousands of unrelated e-shops are likely to be one or a few businesses marketing suspected trade mark infringing goods to European consumers.
- The report provides further evidence of the scale of the problem of commercial online intellectual property infringements and argues that there is a need "for cooperation at the EU level to bring it under control."