More than 80 Web sites allegedly selling counterfeit goods are temporarily out of business this morning following a national intellectual property enforcement action targeting the sale and distribution of fake merchandise, Justice Department officials said today.
Federal authorities obtained orders seizing the domain names of 82 Internet retail sites that were selling sports equipment, shoes, handbags, sunglasses, DVDs, music and software, according to the Justice Department. The Web sites include "burberryoutlet-us.com," "tieonsale.com," "handbagcom.com" and "coachoutletfactory.com." A full list of the domain names is here.
“With today’s seizures, we are disrupting the sale of thousands of counterfeit items,” Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in prepared remarks today. “We are cutting off funds to those looking to profit from the sale of illegal goods and exploit the ingenuity of others.”
The undercover sting targeted retailers the authorities suspected were selling and distributing counterfeit goods. If an item was confirmed as a fake, a U.S. magistrate judge issued a seizure order for the domain name. DOJ officials said the enforcement action follows an earlier effort, announced in June, in which seizure warrants were executed against nine Web sites.
In his remarks, Holder called enforcement of intellectual property rights a top priority at the Justice Department. “Make no mistake: Intellectual property crimes are not victimless, and they are not risk-free,” the attorney general said.
Nine U.S. Attorney Offices, including offices in Washington, Manhattan, New Jersey and Florida, participated in the investigation. Seventeen domain names were seized in the District of Columbia, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. said.
In a statement, U.S. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) touted pending legislation that would give the Justice Department power to seek an injunction against a domain name of an Internet site "dedicated to infringing activities" even when the domain name is not registered in the United States.
"We can no longer sit on the sidelines while American intellectual property is stolen and sold online using our own infrastructure," Leahy said in a statement. "This costs American jobs, hurts our economy, and puts consumers at risk."