ICE Takes Aim at Counterfeit Good Sites on Cyber Monday
This year’s Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping day in the history of the United States. The availability of online goods and the lure of low, bargain prices presents the opportunity for counterfeit goods to enter the market, fooling unsuspecting buyers. This provided the perfect set of conditions for ICE to continue its targeting of websites that sell counterfeit goods. Through Operation In Our Sites, domain names and third party market links that sell counterfeit products have been criminally seized and removed.
Operation In Our Sites is a partnership between ICE, Interpol, and Europol that seeks to target individuals and websites that are illegally distributing trademarked material, which is often dangerous to the health or safety of the consumer. The OECD estimates that the global trade in counterfeit goods is worth nearly half a trillion dollars annually, with the United States. Over the past year, more than 50,000 illegal domain names and 320,000 ecommerce/social media links as part of the operation.
The cooperation among the various law enforcement agencies to shutdown websites that are distributing counterfeit goods is a sign of increased global awareness of the importance of protecting intellectual property rights. If allowed to run undisturbed, counterfeit goods would become more common, with increasing violations of the rights of IP owners. By seizing these sites and criminally punishing those who are infringing on the IP rights of others, the United States and its global partners are strengthening IP rights through their enforcement and use of the rule of law.
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