Cartier International AG & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & Ors, Court of Appeal - Civil Division, July 06, 2016, [2016] EWCA Civ 658

Issuing Organization:Civil Division
Actores:Cartier International AG & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & Ors
Resolution Date:July 06, 2016

Case No: A3/2014/3939 (Claim No: HC14 C01382)

& A3/2014/4238 (Claim No: HC 14 C001056)

Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWCA Civ 658




The Hon Mr Justice Arnold

[2014] EWHC 3354 (Ch) & [2014] EWHC 3915 (Ch)

& [2014] EWHC 3794 (Ch)

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 06/07/2016






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Miss Charlotte May QC and Dr Jaani Riordan (instructed by Reed Smith LLP)

for the Defendants/Appellants

Adrian Speck QC and Benet Brandreth (instructed by Wiggin LLP)

for the Claimants/Respondents

Greg Callus (instructed by Preiskel & Co LLP) for the Open Rights Group (Intervener)

Hearing dates: 13 and 14 April 2016

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JudgmentLord Justice Kitchin:

1. These are appeals by five English internet service providers (Sky, BT, EE, TalkTalk and Virgin, collectively ``the ISPs'') against orders made on 11 November and 5 December 2014 by Mr Justice Arnold which required them to block or attempt to block access by their customers to certain websites (``the target websites'') which were advertising and selling counterfeit copies of the respondents' goods.

2. The ISPs are the five main retail internet service providers in the United Kingdom and between them have a market share of around 95% of United Kingdom broadband users. The respondents (collectively, ``Richemont'') own a large number of United Kingdom registered trade marks for Cartier, Montblanc, IWC and other brands (``the registered trade marks'').

3. On 2 April 2014 Richemont made an application for the first of the orders the subject of this appeal. They contended that the operators of the target websites were infringing the registered trade marks and were using the services of the ISPs to do so. That application was opposed by the ISPs. Both sides relied on a considerable body of evidence, including expert evidence. As the judge observed at the outset of the comprehensive judgment which he handed down on 17 October 2014 ([2014] EWHC 3354 (Ch)) (``the main judgment''), the application raised five central questions, namely first, whether the court had jurisdiction to make an order of the kind sought; secondly, if the court had jurisdiction, what threshold conditions, if any, had to be satisfied if the court was to make an order; thirdly, whether those threshold conditions were satisfied in the present case; fourthly, if those threshold conditions were satisfied, what principles should be applied in deciding whether or not to make such an order; and fifthly, whether, applying those principles, an order should be made in the present case.

4. The judge also recorded that, over the previous three years, a series of orders had been made requiring the ISPs to block or attempt to block access to websites pursuant to s.97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 ("the 1988 Act'') which implements Article 8(3) of Directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (``the Information Society Directive''). Many of these orders had been made by the judge himself and neither the ISPs nor the rightholders had appealed against any aspect of them, including those aspects which dealt with the costs of obtaining the orders and implementing them.

5. The judge considered that the application now before him raised different considerations, however, and that was so for two main reasons. First, this was the first application for a website blocking order to combat infringement of registered trade marks; and secondly, Richemont could not invoke a statutory equivalent in the field of trade marks to s.97A of the 1988 Act.

6. The judge nevertheless concluded that he had jurisdiction to make the order sought by Richemont and that it was appropriate to do so. He also held that the ISPs should bear the costs of its implementation. Following further argument he awarded the costs of the substantive hearing to Richemont and he also settled the detailed terms of the order. In parallel, he made an order in respect of the second application which was directed at two additional websites.

7. The ISPs now appeal against both orders. They contend, in broad outline, that they are wholly innocent parties and are not alleged to be wrongdoers; that the court had no jurisdiction to make any such order; that if the court did have jurisdiction, the jurisdictional threshold requirements were not satisfied in the circumstances of these cases; that the judge failed properly to identify the correct principles that should be applied in deciding whether or not to make an order; that the orders made were disproportionate having regard to the evidence before the court; and that the judge fell into error in making the orders that he did in relation to costs.

8. It is convenient to address each of the submissions advanced by the ISPs using the clear and logical structure adopted by the judge in the main judgment. But before doing so I must first set the scene and provide a little more of the factual background. I must also acknowledge the written submissions we have received from the intervener, the Open Rights Group (the ``ORG''). As it did before the judge, the ORG has focused on the position of third parties who are potentially affected by website blocking orders. Its submissions are relatively concise and I have found them very helpful.

The background

9. The background is set out by the judge from [12] to [71] of the main judgment. The following summary is drawn in large part and with gratitude from those paragraphs.

10. Richemont produce and sell luxury goods under the very well-known trade marks to which I have referred. Unfortunately and as is well known, luxury goods attract the attention of counterfeiters and Richemont and other such producers suffer significant losses each year as a result of the international trade in counterfeit goods. In 2014 the European Commission published its Report on EU Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: Results at the EU Border in which it stated that in 2012 the customs authorities at the external borders of the EU seized over 39.9 million counterfeit articles with a market value of almost €900 million, and that the authorities in the UK seized more articles than the authorities in any other Member State. In 2011 Frontier Economics Ltd published a report entitled Estimating the Global Economic and Social Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy in which it estimated that the value of internationally traded counterfeit and pirated goods would increase to US$960 billion by 2015.

11. The sale of counterfeit goods damages trade mark owners like Richemont in various ways. First, they suffer a loss of sales. Secondly, counterfeit goods are almost always of lower quality than the genuine articles and the circulation of such counterfeit goods diminishes the reputation attaching to the famous brand names. Thirdly, the cachet associated with luxury articles depends at least in part upon their expense and this is eroded by the availability of cheap replicas. Finally, the availability of counterfeit goods tends to damage the confidence of consumers in the legitimate market for luxury articles.

12. There can be no doubt that a good deal of the business of counterfeiters is conducted using the internet. In 2008 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published a report entitled The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy in which it observed that the online environment attracted counterfeiters for various reasons including anonymity, flexibility, the size of the market and the ease with which customers can be deceived. The European Commission also observed in its 2014 report that the top six categories of goods seized were all goods of a kind which are often shipped by post or courier after an order placed via the internet.

13. The ISPs have invested in blocking systems which enable them to operate their services in such a way that requests by subscribers to access a particular website are not returned. It is possible to circumvent each of these systems and the techniques they employ but that involves the adoption of a technical workaround and in practice, as I shall explain, website blocking orders have proved to be effective.

14. Prior to the main judgment and the orders the subject of this appeal, blocking systems had been used by the ISPs essentially for three purposes. The first was to implement the blocking regime of the Internet Watch Foundation (``IWF''). The judge described the IWF blocking regime in these terms at [28]:

``... In summary, the IWF aims to minimise the availability of images of child sexual abuse on the internet. To this end, the IWF produces a list of URLs, updated twice daily, that contain images of child abuse. The URLs may be for whole domains, but more commonly they are for subdomains or specific pages. This list is supplied in encrypted form to the ISPs, who then implement automated blocking measures to prevent, or at least impede, access to these URLs by their subscribers. In addition to the blocking regime, the IWF operates a notice and takedown regime to remove such images from websites hosted in the UK.''

15. The second had been to allow their customers to make an active choice over what sort of content they wished to allow their children to access. In 2013 Sky, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin all agreed to offer to all new customers family-friendly network level filtering by the end of December 2013. These measures were reviewed by OFCOM in a report entitled Report on Internet Safety Measures which was published on 22 July 2014. It included the following assessment:

``Circumventing filters

5.9 There is a broad...

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