Case details

Cartier International AG and others (Respondents) v British Telecommunications Plc and another (Appellants)

Case ID: UKSC 2016/0159

Case summary

  1. The threshold conditions for the imposition of an order requiring internet service providers ("ISPs") to block or attempt to block access to websites infringing registered trademarks;
  2. Whether ISPs, as innocent parties, should be required to bear the costs of such blocking orders.

The appellant ISPs were ordered to block or attempt to block access to certain websites advertising and selling counterfeit copies of goods to which the respondents owned the trademarks. The orders, the first of their kind, were made under s. 37(1) of the Senior Courts Act 1981, Article 11 of Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (which obliges Member States to ensure rightholders are able to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe an intellectual property right) not having been implemented in domestic law. The judge held that although the ISPs were not guilty of any wrongdoing, they were inevitable and essential actors in the infringing activities of the websites in question. The ISPs were also required to bear the costs of implementing the orders. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals of the ISPs in their entirety.

Judgment appealed

[2016] EWHC 339 (Ch)


  1. British Telecommunications Plc
  2. EE Limited
  1. Cartier International AG
  2. Monblac-Simplo
  3. Richemont Int Ag



Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Hodge

Hearing start date

30 Jan 2018

Hearing finish date

30 Jan 2018

Watch hearing
30 Jan 2018 Morning session Afternoon session