Bah Humbug!

November 29, 2011

Launched in June 2010, "Operation In Our Sites" is a federal law enforcement initiative that targets the sale of counterfeit goods and intellectual property piracy on the Internet.   For the second year in a row, the Operation rolled out on Cyber Monday- last year, in November 2010, 82 websites were seized during the Cyber Monday-related operation. 

READ about last year's Cyber Monday operation at Feds Try To Stop Grinch Before He Steals Christmas ("Street Sweeper", November 29, 2010).

On November 28, 2011, "Operation In Our Sites" moved into action and executed federal seizure orders against 150 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works.  The Operation was undertaken by the Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).  

During this year's task force sweep, federal agents made undercover purchases of products such as professional sports jerseys, golf equipment, DVD sets, footwear, handbags and sunglasses - all falsely represented as having bona fide trademarks - from online retailers who were suspected of selling counterfeit products.  Generally, the counterfeit goods were manufactured abroad and shipped directly into the United States.  

If a trademark holder confirmed that  purchased products bearing its marks were counterfeit or otherwise illegal, seizure orders for the selling website domains were obtained from federal courts.  As a result of such confirmation, Operation In Our Sites seized 150 domains, which are now in the custody of the federal government.  Visitors to these seized sites are now greeted with a seizure banner and a warning that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime. To date, the Operation has seized 350 domain names (of which 116 were forfeited to the US government), and the seizure banner has received more than 77 million individual views.