Search engines: Time to step up – white paper released by Incopro

Wiggin are pleased to have contributed to the latest white paper by Incopro which describes how Google and other search engines can do more to stop returning results that harm consumers and undermine brands. As a result of search engines not removing websites and URLs from their index when they are notified that these locations infringe trademarks, as many as 60% of search results for trademark car parts, pharma products, and toys can link through to fake sites, putting consumers at risk.

As a member of the Incopro Legal Network, Wiggin lawyers Rachel Alexander (IP Partner) and Katharine Hepburn (IP Associate), have contributed to the white paper by outlining the compelling legal case for search engines to take action. Rachel has commented:

“Counterfeiting is a pervasive and growing issue – made more so by the rapidly evolving digital environment.  Intermediaries have a key role, and responsibility, to play in addressing online counterfeiting.  Whilst some intermediaries are now recognising this, search engines, in particular Google, refuse to take action.  Incopro’s research calls out the extent to which Google Search leads consumers to harmful counterfeits. This is not only an issue for the brands whose IP rights are being infringed, but also risks consumer welfare. The White Paper rightly challenges Google to step up and reform its practices.”

Incopro was set up by Simon Baggs, IP and Litigation Partner at Wiggin, and provides bespoke technology and expert intelligence to protect the value of leading brands and content companies. Wiggin are part of the Incopro Legal Network which provides specialist legal support in tracking and enforcing against IP infringement.

If you would like to discuss any of the legal issues, please contact Rachel Alexander or Katharine Hepburn.