In a surprising move the BC Supreme Court in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, 2014
BCSC 1063, released June 13, 2014, has ordered Google, as a
third party, to remove from its search engine all websites operated
by the defendants in the action. The defendants operated a number
of websites (some of which were created following a previous
injunction against the defendants) which the plaintiff alleged
offered products that infringed the plaintiffs' trade secrets,
and wrongly traded upon the plaintiffs' goodwill.
The order, made by Justice Fenlon, was supported by an extensive
consideration of the BC Court's jurisdiction over Google as an
entity, and jurisdiction to grant an injunction with worldwide
effect. The reasons demonstrate awareness that the order is a first
instance of such an order in Canada, and engage in a detailed
review of the relevant law and the potential practical
Ultimately, the court, relying on its inherent jurisdiction,
concluded that it was necessary and equitable in the circumstances
to grant an injunction against Google, who was "inadvertently
facilitating" the defendants, in order to protect against the
defendants' "flagrant and ongoing breaches" of court
orders and process.
The severity of the defendants' behaviour in this case will
likely limit the instances in which similar injunctions may be
Nonetheless, the decision creates a potential route for
intellectual property rights holders to address infringement by
entities who seek to avoid the court's authority, and hide
behind an exclusively digital presence.
By all appearances, this decision will be appealed. We will
provide further updates as the case progresses.
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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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