As news broke that a woman in America was caught selling $100,000 of stolen fake designer goods on Facebook, it was announced that the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and City of London Police, Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) have joined forces to protect consumers from online fakes.
The RogueBlock programme is a global, voluntary collaboration with international payment providers that targets online counterfeiters by terminating merchant accounts that illicit websites use to receive payments.
Since it was first set up, RogueBlock has terminated more than 5,300 individual merchant accounts, dismantling their ability to profit from an estimated 200,000 nefarious websites.
The collaboration with PIPCU expands the programme’s impact on counterfeiters by going after the websites themselves though PIPCU’s Operation Ashiko. As part of its partnership, PIPCU has agreed to consider each website submission from RogueBlock that fall within its jurisdiction, such as .uk domain names.
As a spokesman for PIPCU pointed out, Operation Ashiko aims to tackle the online trade in counterfeit goods by suspending websites committing intellectual property (IP) crime. So far, it has suspended more than 20,000 websites, which creates a safer environment for consumers to purchase genuine goods and disrupts the funding of criminals committing this crime.
The IACC agreed, with a spokesman saying that the collaboration sends a clear message to counterfeiters that their illegal actions will not be tolerated and represents the kind of multi-faceted approach that the “modern battlefield” of counterfeiting requires.
He added that the initiative advances PIPCU’s IP enforcement objectives by providing a streamlined source of counterfeit websites that are identified by rights holders and that includes all the information required to take action against them.