75% of Suspected Fake E-Shops Re-Use Popular Domain Names, Reports EUIPO
On October 25, 2017, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) published the Research on Online Business Models Infringing Intellectual Property Rights report, phase 2, building on the phase 1 findings, published in July 2016.
During phase 1 of the research, it was discovered that a large number of domain names under the Danish country code top-level domain (ccTLD) .dk previously used by well-known individuals, organizations and businesses were being re-registered by suspected online infringers. This was done in order to take advantage of the domain names’ popularity to attract traffic to the newly established e-shops marketing goods suspected of being counterfeit.
During phase 2 of the research, the EUIPO aimed to find out whether this practice also existed in other EU countries with developed e-commerce sectors, and selected Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain for the research. It was discovered that this practice indeed existed in other countries and in a higher degree than expected.
75% of the 27,870 detected e-shops suspected of marketing counterfeits were found to use domain names previously used by other registrants. Additionally, other commonalities were discovered between the e-shops, such as the software used, registrars and name servers, leading to the conclusion that what seemed like thousands of unrelated websites could in fact be the work of a few businesses marketing counterfeits in the EU.
The report signals that the use of this business model to infringe IP rights online is likely widespread in other EU countries and highlights the importance of EU-level cooperation to bring this problem under control.
The research shows that the most affected product categories are footwear (68%) and apparel (21%). In terms of hosting providers, the majority was located in Turkey (26%), the Netherlands (19%) and the United States (18%).
Prepared by: Djurdja Krivokapić
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- 75% of Suspected Fake E-Shops Re-Use Popular Domain Names, Reports EUIPO