The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, has just published a report on Online Business Models Infringing Intellectual Property Rights. The aim of this independent research is to provide an overview of different infringing business models understanding how they work.
The aim of this independent research is to provide an overview of different infringing business models, assessing how they function, how they are financed, how they generate profits for their operators, what kinds of content they disseminate and how large their user bases are.
The study will provide enhanced understanding to policymakers, civil society and private businesses. At the same time, it will help to identify and better understand the range of responses necessary to tackle the challenge of large scale online IPR infringements.
The 25 online business models identified and analysed
During the research 25 distinct business models were identified and analysed:
• 5 business models where IPR is misused in the domain name (or other digital identifier) in marketing practices on the open Internet: cybersquatting, domain name parking, affiliate marketing and marketing of products either related or unrelated to the misused IPR.
• 5 business models where IPR is not misused in the domain name (or other digital identifier) in marketing practices on the open Internet: marketing of pharmaceuticals, applied arts replica and virtual items and marketing on third party commercial platforms or social media.
• 5 business models existing on the hidden part of the Internet, Darknet: trading of user accounts, computer software source code, complete databases, weapons and storage devices as well as an online e-book library.
• 5 business models with the aim of conducting phishing, dissemination of malware or traditional fraud: spoofing, phishing e-mails, ransomware mobile apps, malware dissemination from websites making unauthorised trademark use and fraudulent misuse of the name of a national IP office.
• 5 business models sharing digital content on the open Internet: linking, torrent, streaming and cyberlocker sites and a site contributing to video streaming.
In the examples infringement of trademarks and copyrights are the most common, but there are also infringements of other IPRs. It is often seen that several IPRs are infringed at the same time, sometimes in surprising combinations.
It is apparent from the analyses of the identified business models that the operators that are engaged in IPR-infringing activities in the online world are using a wide variety of business models as the following overview of the analysed business models plotted into the taxonomic matrix illustrates:
>> You can access the full report by clicking here.