Imitation and copycat websites

What legal solutions are available to stop the harm to your business?

Fraudsters posting copycat websites as an attempt to defraud unwitting third parties or to attack your business have increased in numbers over recent years. The UK government through Action Fraud reported that more than £78 million was lost to brand cloning scams in 2020 alone. While there are steps you can take to spot imitation websites, such as setting up Google alerts and social media searches, legal steps are often required to stop the problem. We've helped clients to tackle clone websites in situations where bad actors have set up websites to:

  • impersonate financial institutions, seeking to defraud new customers performing foreign exchange transactions
  • advertise employment positions and conduct interviews, and then requesting payments to take the interview process further
  • try to steal customers

Bad actors use VPNs and registrars in jurisdictions where they know it's difficult for victims to seek legal redress to find out their identities. 

There are various actions that victims can take, and we've worked with clients to develop cost effective and commercial strategies to tackle the problem including:

  • investigating the imitating website and identifying its hosts and registrars
  • obtaining, where a connection can be made to the UK, Norwich Pharmacal relief to require third parties to disclose details they have of those behind the bogus website
  • successfully procuring the removal of entries to the offending website from indices of online search engines
  • liaising with the applicable domain name hosts to take down the copycat website
  • filing complaints with Nominet and procuring the cancellation or transfer of the website to you through Nominet’s dispute resolution service

If you're suffering from a bad actor cloning your website, please don't hesitate to contact us to see how we can help you. It's important to deal with the problem as soon as possible before the bad actor causes irreparable harm to your business and innocent third parties.

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

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