REACT trademark owners obtain a favorable decision in Dutch court

In the framework of its program to take legal action against service providers who consistently support/facilitate counterfeit sales, React has initiated legal proceedings against AltusHost, an Internet Service Provider hosting many websites offering counterfeit goods. Below you will find a short summary of the case including the court ruling in favor of Reacts Members.

On August 21, 2012 hosting provider AltusHost was ordered by the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands to block a large number of websites offering counterfeit goods. The plaintiffs in this case consists of the following trademark holders: Breitling, Bvlgari, Chanel, Chopard, Dior, Gucci, Longines, Omega, Pandora, Patek Philippe and Tag Heuer. The defendant, AltusHost, is a Benelux-based Internet Service Provider (ISP) that hosts many websites offering counterfeit products.

 

After the registrants and registrars of these infringing websites did not respond to the various summon letters to cease their infringing activities, the plaintiffs summoned AltusHost to block these websites to prevent third parties from gaining access to them within the Benelux. The plaintiffs claim was based on the legal obligation that prohibits intermediaries from offering services that infringe trademark owners' rights.

 

AltusHost initially tried referring the complainant to the arbitration of the ICANN web administrator. But because ICANN decides on who is entitled to the domain name itself and not the content thereof, the court decided that this is not the right way and furthermore noted the lengthy duration of this procedure.

 

The court ruled that it was undisputed that these websites infringe the Intellectual property rights of the trademark holders.

 

AltusHost claimed in their defense that the hosted websites are not aimed at the Benelux market and that AltusHost can therefore not be considered an intermediary. This defense failed because the trademark holders undisputedly stated that on the websites the Netherlands is pointed as a country from which products can be ordered and sent to. Furthermore customers have the option to pay in euros and the sites are in English, a language that is understood by virtually anyone with an Internet connection in the Netherlands. The court thus considers AltusHost as an 'intermediary' within the meaning of Article 2.22 paragraph 3 and paragraph 6 BCIP, whose services are used for the trademark infringement.

 

The court has ruled the defendant to seize their services to the infringing websites so that third parties (within the Benelux) have no access, by blocking these and keeping them blocked, and to cease hosting these websites permanently.

 

Legal fees were paid by the defendant.