A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision
(Court File No. CV-13-480391) has held that .CA domain
names are personal property and as such are subject to
the rules that govern any other type of personal property,
including those against wrongful conversion. Perhaps more
importantly, the case appears to stand for the
proposition that title in .CA domain names exists
independently of the registration of those domain names.
17 .CA domain names were in issue, including mold.ca and
mould.ca. All were registered by Mr. Sullivan in
his own name for the benefit of a company that he co-founded with
Mr. Dalrymple, called Mold.Ca Inc. (Mold.Ca Inc.) The
business of Mold.Ca Inc., not surprisingly,
involves mold inspection and removal services in the
Greater Toronto area. Sullivan purchased the domain
names using the company's credit card but listed himself as the
Registrant of all of the domain names, rather than Mold.Ca Inc.,
unbeknownst to Dalrymple.
Sullivan parted ways with Dalrymple and Mold.Ca Inc. a year
later, while Mold.Ca Inc. continued to carry on
its business, as before. Unbeknownst to Dalrymple,
Sullivan retained the domain name registrations and the passwords
for the domain name registrations and then subsequently transferred
the domain name registrations to a third party
(Romelus). Once Dalrymple found out about the
above events, he commenced a Canadian Internet Registration
Dispute Resolution Proceeding (CDRP)
against Romelus. The CDRP proceeding were unsuccessful because
there was no evidence that the domain names had been registered by
Romelus in bad faith (they hadn't been), nor was there evidence
that they were being used for other than legitimate purposes by
Following the failed CDRP proceeding, Romelus transferred the
domain names back to Sullivan and Sullivan began using them in
a competing business to that of Mold.Ca Inc. Undaunted by its
loss in the CDRP, this turn of events led to Mold.Ca Inc. to
commence proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court of
Justice. Finding in favour of Mold.Ca Inc., the
Court held that "the issue is a simple matter of property
law", whereby title to the domain names belongs
to the company, which had been wrongly converted by
Sullivan. The Court therefore ordered that all of the
domain names, including all administrative information and
passwords, be transferred to Mold.Ca Inc.
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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