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The EUIPO recently published a report of in-depth analysis on online business models used to infringe intellectual property rights in five countries, including Spain.

The first phase of the study uncovered a practice in Denmark that improved the positioning of suspected trade mark infringing goods online. The practice was to register domain names that had previously been used for completely different purposes, to subsequently create e-shops that marketed suspected trade mark infringing goods.

The second phase extended the investigation to Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, and found that the practice is broadly present across Europe. The investigation detected 27,870 e-shops suspected of marketing trade mark infringing goods, of which 21,001 used domain names that had previously been given a different use.

This mechanism takes advantage of the popularity of such domain names to appear higher up in search results and to benefit from pre-existing product reviews and links on other websites.

Shoes are the most affected product category involving 67.5% of the suspected e-shops. Nearly all these shops use the same e-commerce software.

The report reveals the magnitude of the business models and shows that infringement of intellectual property rights is widespread in Europe. It tries to call on Member States to increase their cooperation to implement actions to fight online trademark infringements.

Authors: Inés Cabañas and Jean-Yves Teindas

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