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Over 50,000 websites suspended for selling counterfeits

  • Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) suspends over 50,000 websites since its inception in 2013
  • The action by PIPCU was taken as part of Operation Ashiko, an initiative conducted in partnership with .UK domain registry Nominet
  • The sites disrupted by PIPCU often sell products claiming to be from well-known brands

The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has taken down over 50,000 websites since its inception in 2013.

The take downs are part of the unit’s Operation Ashiko which aims to combat websites selling counterfeits and protect the public from the risks of unsafe products. Since 2013, PIPCU has taken down 22,084 clothing websites and 15,975 footwear websites, with 3,591 sites taken down for selling bags, accessories and jewellery.

Operation Ashiko is conducted in partnership with .UK domain registry Nominet, which targets the sale of counterfeit goods online and aims to seize the domains of infringers. PIPCU notifies Nominet that a domain is being used for criminal activity and after carrying out administrative checks, Nominet then works with the registrar to suspend the domain.

PIPCU continues to warn consumers that there’s more at stake when it’s a fake when buying fake goods online as counterfeits are often of poor quality and can be potentially dangerous. The websites themselves can also be unsafe; they can contain harmful viruses and malware and your personal information is also at risk of being compromised.

December 2017: Over 15,000 websites suspended for selling counterfeits

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Nicholas Court, of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) said: “We are extremely proud to have reached 50,000 takedowns with Operation Ashiko; this is a testament to the hard work of our team in tackling intellectual property crime.

“Since the launch of Operation Ashiko in October 2013, we have been extremely successful in removing websites selling counterfeit products and as such protecting people from the risks of IP crime.

“The sheer number of website takedowns should act as a warning online shoppers that there’s more at stake when it’s a fake. When consumers make purchases on illicit sites, they are unknowingly handing over their personal and payment details to criminals who often use these to commit further crime.”

Dr Ros Lynch, Director of Copyright and Enforcement, Intellectual Property Office said: "It’s great to hear that thousands of websites have been taken down due to partners working together globally to fight against intellectual property crime, in particular the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and NOMINET who have had great success in the UK.

"By collaborative working we can help protect consumers from the dangers of counterfeit goods and protect their personal information when shopping online."


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