An Italian Criminal Court seize, before the trial, 500 websites for trademark infringement

The sentence of an Italian court  to seize, before the criminal trial, 500 websites for trademark infringement is discussing in Italy

The measure of seizure of websites is arranged on 29 September by the preliminary investigations judge of the Court of Padua Lara Fortuna, at the request of the prosecutor at the Tribunal Paola De Franceschi.

 The GIP of Padua has arranged for the first time in our country the seizure of 493 websites, some amateur and registered abroad, for trademark infringement, at the request of the multinational Moncler.

 The measure was not limited, as has happened in the past, to ask the national providers to prevent access to a single site, but placed directly obscuration of hundreds of websites, some amateur, recalling the the brand name of the multinational company which owns the clothing brand Moncler.

 Many of these sites were not active or does not make any sales, simply call in the name of the word “Moncler”.

 The judge ordered the sequestration and the darkening of the sites for the offenses in the state and the market introduction of products with false signs referred to ‘Article 474 of the Penal Code, as well as for the offense of Sale of industrial products with misleading signs of in Art. 517 of the Penal Code.

 The fact is new for several reasons:

 It ‘the first time that Italy is placed in a seizure of websites of this nature for  trade mark infringements.

 Most of the sites covered by the measure lies with foreign providers, of course, could make the decision only in the presence of acts of international letters rogatory.

 Fulvio Sarzana di S. Ippolito, a lawyer expert in criminal law and legal informatics Assoprovider ISP Association of Confcommercio ( an association of small-medium business company) , which has been involved in the proceedings as many other national providers, expressed concerns about the measure.

“The judge’s ruling at the Court of Padua appears abnormal.

 Not only does the number of sites which requires the blackout seems frankly absurd, but also the ability to run a measure of this kind from the technical point of view is difficult to achieve for those who know the Internet. ”

 Despite the fact the Supreme Court has allowed the seizure of a site (in the famous case of Pirate Bay, but very different from those for crimes for which you are making or breaking the law on copyright), it must be said that that case (already discussed in itself), the GIP of Bergamo had ordered  not the ‘”obscuring direct” of websites but the’ unable to access the site through DNS blocking for Italian citizens, according to an argumentative process that had already given place in hot controversy doctrine.

In the case treated by the GIP of Padua seems that the simple domain name associated with the site seized, was regarded as such evidence to bring forth the offense counterfeiters.

 It is therefore indeed a true “seizure” of domain names, “disguised” by inhibiting access for Italian users.

 The request came to the Italian providers, moreover, in order to active research of hundreds of websites to obscure contrasts against the basic principle according to which the provider can not be considered in all respects the sheriffs of the net. ”

 The Court statement  is likely to seriously impact on sales made through e-commerce portals such as Ebay, which could be  considered liable for criminal offences together with those who sell counterfeit goods held on the internet, and seeing so closed pages of listings through the instrument of the seizure .

Fulvio Sarzana
Studio Legale Roma Sarzana & Associati
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