EUIPO Reasearch on Suspected Fake e-Shops

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New research reveals extent of suspected fake e-shops using previously registered domain names

In a two month period between December 2016 and January 2017, more than 27,000 eshops in four EU Member States may have marketed trade mark infringing products.

A new report launched by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows that of these e-shops, over 21,000 were using domain names that had previously been registered in the name of others.

This research highlights the abuse of the domain names system by those who infringe intellectual property rights and stresses the need to involve as wide a range of authorities as possible to cooperate in the fight against those abuses.

The four studied Member States are Spain, Sweden, Germany and the UK. The report was based on in-depth research of the country code top level domains (ccTLD) of the four chosen Member States to detect how often e-shops suspected of marketing trade mark infringing products were utilizing previously-used domain names.

Those previously used domain names included examples from almost all areas of internet activity, including public, private and commercial activity, including public and special interest organisations, news and media websites, political debate, cultural and religious websites, famous people and fan clubs, adult and dating websites.

The research is a follow-up to the 2016 EUIPO report on Online Business Models Infringing Intellectual Property Rights, which detailed a business practice used in Denmark, and which showed that this model is also used to market goods to consumers in Sweden, Germany, UK and Spain, and possibly other EU Member States.

The Executive Director of the EUIPO, António Campinos said:
This analysis will assist EU enforcement authorities as they reflect on how to tackle the issue of these business structures at the heart of fake e-shops. Improving the available intelligence on how counterfeiters operate and do business offers new avenues for companies and enforcers in the fight against counterfeiting in the online environment. This will also bring benefits for consumers.

Read the full report here
or Executive Summary here

Sweden
During the time period studied (December 2016 to January 2017), 2,444 e-shops were suspected of infringing the trademarks of others using a domain name under the ccTLD where the domain name had been previously used by someone else. This corresponds to 77% of suspected fake web shops.

UK
During the time period studied (December 2016 to January 2017), 10 081 e-shops were suspected of infringing the trademarks of others using a domain name under the ccTLD where the domain name had been previously used by someone else. This corresponds to 71% of suspected fake e-shops

Spain
During the time period studied (December 2016 to January 2017), 3 612 e-shops were suspected of infringing the trademarks of others using a domain name under the ccTLD where the domain name had been previously used by someone else. This corresponds to 81% of suspected fake e-shops.

Germany
During the time period studied (December 2016 to January 2017), 4 864 e- shops were suspected of infringing the trademarks of others using a domain name under the ccTLD where the domain name had been previously used by someone else. This corresponds to 80% of suspected fake e-shops. 

ABOUT THE EUIPO
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is a decentralised agency of the EU, based in Alicante, Spain. It manages the registration of the European Union trade mark (EUTM) and the registered Community design (RCD), both of which provide intellectual property protection in all 28 EU Member States, as well as carrying out cooperation activities with the national and regional IP offices of the EU.


EUIPO PRESS CONTACTS
Laura Casado
Tel.: +·34 96 513 8934
Laura.CASADO@euipo.europa.eu Ruth McDonald
Tel.: +34 96 513 7676
Ruth.MCDONALD@euipo.europa.eu
Claire Castel
Tel.: +34 965199735
Claire.CASTEL@euipo.europa.eu
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