A joint European-United States operation has seen 30,506
domain names seized that distributed counterfeit and pirated items over the
internet during the tenth iteration of Operation In Our Sites (IOS X). The counterfeit
and pirated items distributed included counterfeit pharmaceuticals and pirated
movies, illegal television streaming, music, software, electronics and other
IOS X was coordinated by law enforcement authorities from 18
European Union member states and third parties in a joint investigation with
Europol and the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre,
facilitated by Eurojust and INTERPOL.
During the investigation, officials arrested 3 suspects,
seized 26,000 luxury products (clothes, perfumes), 363 litres of alcoholic
beverages, and many hardware devices. They identified and froze more than €150,000
in several bank accounts and online payment platforms.
Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition
(IPC³) supported the investigation on the ground by deploying experts with a
mobile office. Europol officers carried out real-time information exchange and
cross-checks of the data gathered during the course of the action against
Europol’s databases. In addition, IPC3 experts organised several online
investigation techniques training courses in intellectual property
infringements in 2019 with law enforcement authorities all over Europe.
‘In Our Sites’ (IOS), launched in 2014, is the continuation
of a recurrent joint global operation that has increased significantly
year-on-year. The operation is the result of the comprehensive approach which
Europol follows with the aim of making the internet a safer place for
consumers, by getting even more countries and private sector partners to
participate in this operation and providing referrals.
Europol, supported by the European Union Intellectual
Property Office (EUIPO), continued to enhance efforts in 2019 by successfully
supporting many high-priority investigations related to online crimes,
providing training for online investigations, and organising the conference on
Adaptive enforcement initiatives against new IP crime trends in Malaga, Spain
on 18 and 19 June 2019.
To raise awareness of this growing threat, Europol’s IPC³
launched the Don’t F***(ake) Up campaign. The campaign aims to inform citizens
of the risks of buying fake products online and give advice to help identify
illicit websites selling counterfeit goods, as well as other means used by
counterfeiters, such as fake social media accounts and fake apps.
The 18 EU member states and other countries involved in the operation were Albania, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong,China, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Moldova, Romania , Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.
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