Historically, eBay has been one of the main trade vehicles for boxing belts in the U.S. and in certain regions in Europe. In 2015 alone, the WBC caused the removal of over 150 fake belts from eBay.
Additionally, the WBC has alerted eBay’s and Facebook’s advertising departments of the illegal activities of several merchandisers that have been selling and advertising counterfeit merchandise through those sites. The ultimate goal of the WBC in those instances is to permanently bar the owners of those pirate sites from operating through eBay and using eBay and Facebook to advertise their nefarious activities. The WBC’s eBay and Facebook programs are ongoing. We appreciate the efforts of the David and Fay Walker from the U.K. for monitoring eBay and similar sites and reporting fake WBC belts to the Chief Special Counsel’s office.
Besides the illegal trade on eBay sites, in the last couple of years several web sites have been established that focus on the marketing and sale of fake, unauthorized replicas of WBC belts. For example, the site www.WBCBelts.com was using the WBC trademarks to legitimize their illegal sale of fake WBC belts. The WBC’s approach against the operators of that site was swift and permanent.
On December 11, 2014, the WBC filed a Complaint with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) against the owners of www.WBCBelts.com. The WBC designated the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as the arbitrating entity. On December 23, 2014, the WBC filed an amended complaint to include additional information we gathered about the infringers. Instead of litigating the issue, the Pakistani owners of the company operating the www.WBCBelts.com site started diverting the site’s Internet traffic to www.allboxingbelts.com.
In February of 2015, as a result of the WBC’s efforts, the WIPO Arbitration Panel found that the operators of www.WBCBelts.com: (1) were in violation of the Policies and Rules of the WIPO; and (2) had registered www.WBCBelts.com in bad faith and for the purpose of commercial gain. In early March of 2015, ICAAN officially transferred ownership of the domain name www.wbcbelts.com to the WBC. By then, the infringers were selling fake WBC belts through www.allboxingbelts.com. Because the new name did not include “WBC” or any confusingly similar terms, the WBC couldn’t use the ICAAN process to try to force them to surrender that domain name to the WBC. Therefore, the WBC took a different route to try to attack the company operating those web sites.
The WBC Chief Legal Counsel’s office contacted the Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (DHIS) regarding the actions of the owners of both sites, which are one and the same. Because the WBC marks are registered in the U.S., the DHIS has the power to seize and therefore shut down a website trading on infringing merchandise. In order to document the illegal activities of the infringers, the WBC certified as counterfeit a belt obtained through www.allboxingbelts.com. Based on the WBC’s certification, on May 8, 2015, DHIS obtained a judicial seizure warrant for www.allboxingbelts.com, which it served upon the domain name registry. As of March 22, 2015, the DHIS seized the infringing domain name. As a result of the DHIS’ seizure, any potential customers of www.allboxingbelts.com who try to access that site end up seeing the DHIS’ notice of seizure and a warning about copyright infringement. That site is no longer trading on illegal and counterfeit WBC belts.
The WBC will continue its tireless efforts to stop the theft of its intellectual properties by unscrupulous thieves and commercial mercenaries.