The seizures came as part of a recurrent joint operation by the IPC3, the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre (IPR Centre), law enforcement authorities from EU member states, and Interpol.
Operation In Our Sites was started in 2014, with a total of 7,776 domains seized across its first three years.
The eighth edition, in 2017, saw an enormous increase with 20,520 domains seized. Europol said this was down to a global operation that saw a big range of anti-counterfeiting associations and brand owner representatives joining law enforcement authorities, facilitating international cooperation.
Rob Wainright, executive director of Europol, commented: “This excellent result shows how important and effective cooperation between law enforcement authorities and private-sector partners is, and how vital it is if we are to ultimately make the internet a safer place for consumers.”
He explained: “Through its IPC3, Europol will continue to work closely with its partners to strengthen the fight against intellectual property crime online and offline.’’
IPR Centre director, Nick Annan, added: "Targeting copyright infringing websites that market dangerous counterfeit goods to consumers and engage in other forms of intellectual property theft will continue to be a priority for law enforcement.”
“Strengthening our collaboration with police authorities around the world and leaders of industry will reinforce the crackdown on IP crimes, and demonstrate that there is no safe haven for criminals committing these illicit activities.”