BREAKING NEWS: Cartier and friends score over ISPs: Open Rights Group intervenes

The judgment is not yet posted on BAILII, but today Mr Justice Arnold, sitting in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice, England and Wales, gave his decision in Cartier, Montblanc and Richemont v BSkyB, BT, TalkTalk, EE and Virgin (Open Rights Group intervening) [2014] EWHC 3354 (Ch). In true Arnoldian style, the judgment has been delivered with a minimum of delay (following a two-day hearing in late September), extends to a regally impressive and firmly-structured 266 paragraphs (even the contents list runs for two full A4 sides), and contains a good deal of legal analysis and restatement of basic principles.

This blog will carry a full note in the near future. Meanwhile, by way of a plot-spoiler, the case is about this:
1. The Claimants ( collectively, “Richemont”) are the owners of a large number of United Kingdom Registered Trade Marks for CARTIER, MONTBLANC, IWC and other brands (“the Trade Marks”). The Defendants (“Sky”, “BT”, “EE”, “TalkTalk” and “Virgin”, collectively “the ISPs”) are the five main retail internet service providers in the United Kingdom. Between them, they have a market share of some 95% of UK broadband users. By this application Richemont seek orders requiring the ISPs to block, or at least impede, access by their respective subscribers to six websites which advertise and sell counterfeit goods (“the Target Websites”). Richemont contend that the operators of the Target Websites thereby infringe the Trade Marks. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no suggestion that the ISPs have infringed the Trade Marks or are liable for infringements by the operators of the Target Websites.

2. The application raises five main questions. First, does this Court have jurisdiction to make an order of the kind sought? Secondly, if the Court has jurisdiction, what are the threshold conditions, if any, which must be satisfied if the Court is to make an order? Thirdly, are those conditions satisfied in the present case? Fourthly, if those conditions are satisfied, what are the principles to be applied in deciding whether or not to make such an order? Fifthly, applying those principles, should such orders be made in the present case?
Arnold J has decided to make orders substantially in the form sought by the claimants, subject to some modifications and after hearing counsel on both sides with regard to the precise form of the wording of the order.

There's some great stuff here about EU legislation, but that's for another blog post ...

You can read the judgment in full here or download it here.

Katnote: this blog post was originally published under a headline that misleadingly suggested that the Open Rights Group was on the wrong end of this decision. As some of our readers have helpfully and speedily pointed out, this was not the case. Apologies all round. This is one of the hazards of getting a "breaking news" post out before having had the chance to read the judgment in full.
BREAKING NEWS: Cartier and friends score over ISPs: Open Rights Group intervenes BREAKING NEWS: Cartier and friends score over ISPs: Open Rights Group intervenes Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, October 17, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. According to paras 262-265, the judge seems to have agreed with ORG's input. Misleading headline?

  2. Sadly, the title of this post is misleading. The ORG's submissions were in fact successful - see paras 191, and 262 onwards.
    Rather unfair to say that the oRG's efforts failed when in fact they succeeded.

    Best wishes
    (Solicitor for ORG in this case.)


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