Nearly one thousand websites that were illegally selling counterfeit merchandise online to consumers have been seized by law enforcement authorities, following the international operation In Our Sites (IOS) VI.
The operation tackled the sale of counterfeit goods (including intellectual property (IP) trademark infringements) and online piracy (IP copyright infringements) on e-commerce platforms and social networks.
Law enforcement agencies from Belgium, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, France, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain and the United Kingdom participated in this huge action, which was organised and led by Europol and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
For the first time in operation IOS’s four-year history, Interpol brought its support through eight of its member countries (Argentina, Chile, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Panama, Peru, South Korea and Thailand).
Europol's role involved organising, coordinating, exchanging and subsequently analysing data among participating countries, and liaising with rights holders from the private sector.
Cooperation with private industry remains crucial and is key to monitoring and reporting IP-infringing websites to the concerned countries via Europol, to ultimately make the Internet a safer place for consumers. The participating rights holders represented different sectors including traditional luxury goods, sportswear, spare parts, electronics, pharmaceuticals and toiletries.
Operation IOS VI followed a new format, in line with the EU Action Plan on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, which resulted in the triggering of seven additional operations. Moreover, several new cases are expected to be initiated due to the huge demand from the rights holders in private industry.