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Exploring the role of internet intermediaries in dealing with trade mark infringements

Published on: 11-Sep-2019

In his new book, Internet Intermediaries and Trade Mark Rights, Assistant Professor Althaf Marsoof looks at the liability of internet intermediaries for trade mark infringements and proposes reforms aimed at addressing gaps and shortcomings in the law.

althaf marsoof book full.jpg “The advent of the internet has benefited us in tremendous ways. Yet it has also given rise to many challenges, particularly in regard to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, including trade mark rights. The emergence of new intermediaries in the online space is revolutionising the way in which we search the internet, advertise products and services, and engage in buying and selling. This, in turn, has created new avenues for crafty traders to misappropriate the brand image of others and mislead consumers,” shares Asst Prof Marsoof.

He adds that the internet has become a significant source of counterfeits and knockoffs, making it extremely challenging for brand owners to protect their trade mark rights. Despite these developments, he feels that not much attention had been given to explore the role of intermediaries with regard to protecting the rights of brand owners in the online space. 

“After all, although intermediaries, such as ISPs, search engines and content hosts, do not themselves engage in trade mark infringements, they become sufficiently entangled in someone else’s wrongdoing – warranting the imposition of legal responsibility for their respective contributory conduct. It is for this reason that I decided to explore the role of internet intermediaries in relation to trade mark infringements in my book. Through my book, I provide an understanding, and where necessary propose reforms, in respect of the various legal approaches that could be utilised to hold such intermediaries legally responsible for trade mark infringements," says Asst Prof Marsoof.


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