Insights IPO to provide guidance on evidence required in website blocking applications

Earlier this month, the Government published a four-year strategy for tackling IP infringement (see our overview here and the full Policy Paper here).  A key objective of the IPO’s strategy is to ensure that rights owners have access to proportionate and effective mechanisms to combat online infringement.  The IPO has stated that it will:

  • Support businesses of any size to navigate and utilise the civil court system.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of injunctions and champion their use where necessary.
  • Provide guidance to copyright owners on the minimum levels of evidence required to obtain website blocking orders.

Website blocking orders are now routinely obtained by a number of copyright owners pursuant to section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.  As recognised by Mr Justice Arnold in Cartier v Sky, such injunctions are an effective and proportionate means of tackling online piracy.  However, the evidential burden placed on section 97A applicants remains relatively high.  It remains to be seen to what extent the IPO’s guidance will mark a move towards streamlining the current evidential requirements.  We await the IPO’s guidance with interest.