London
10 April 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

PIPCU and IACC respond to RogueBlock allegations


The City of London Police Intellectual Property Unit (PIPCU) and the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) have responded to criticism that its new partnership could lead to “enforcement abuse”.

PIPCU and the IACC announced the partnership, which will see the police unit use the coalition’s RogueBlock programme to take down websites selling counterfeits, last week (6 April).

The collaboration is aimed at expanding RogueBlock’s impact as part of PIPCU’s Operation Ashiko, which focuses on websites aimed at UK consumers on .uk domains.

But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argued that the programme “substantially increases the potential for enforcement overreach and abuse”.

“The websites flagged by RogueBlock are based on private reporting by trademark, patent, and copyright holders,” the EFF said in a blog post.

A PIPCU spokesperson responded by saying that the unit “independently assesses and investigates all reports concerning websites that are alleged to be selling counterfeit goods and this will include reference to evidence provided by trademark holders”.

“When a website is suspended as a result of Operation Ashiko, the registrant is provided with a point of contact within PIPCU so that representations can be made and the circumstances reviewed.”

Similarly, in a statement, the IACC said that it works with brands, credit card companies and government officials to “ensure that the provider of these submissions owns the rights to the mark, the submitted claims are legitimate, that any remedial actions taken are appropriate in light of the specific circumstances, and that there are controls in place to permit the operator of a site to respond to an asserted violation”.

“Since the programme's launch in 2012, RogueBlock has been heralded as a success across all industries and sectors, and we look forward to expanding and strengthening the programme.”

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