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December 4, 2013

EU, US authorities seize 706 domain names selling counterfeit merchandise

Seized websites are under custody of the governments involved in these operations.

By CBR Staff Writer

Europol and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have collaborated with ten law enforcement agencies to take over about 706 domain names that illegally sold counterfeit merchandise online.

Being taken down as part of the ‘In Our Sites – Transatlantic 3’ project, the websites were originally set up to trick consumers into unintentionally purchasing counterfeit products.

The operations were managed by the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Washington, D.C.

About 297 domain names were seized from undercover operations carried out by HSI offices across the country, while the IPR Center collaborated with Europol and taken down 393 foreign-based top-level domains and about 16 foreign-based top-level domains hosted in Hong Kong were also seized in collaboration with Hong Kong Customs.

ICE acting director John Sandweg said working with our international partners on operations like this shows the true global impact of IP crime.

"Counterfeiters take advantage of the holiday season and sell cheap fakes to unsuspecting consumers everywhere," Sandweg said.

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"Consumers need to protect themselves, their families, and their personal financial information from the criminal networks operating these bogus sites."

As part of the project, the most popular counterfeit products seized every year include headphones, sports jerseys, personal care products, shoes, toys, luxury goods, cell phones and electronic accessories.

Users will now see a banner on the seized website notifying them of the seizure and alerting them regarding the federal crime of wilful copyright infringement.

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