In many cases relating to comparative advertising the plaintiffs
have asserted claims for injurious falsehood and unlawful
interference with economic relations. In order to succeed with a
common law action asserting injurious falsehood the plaintiff must
i) the statement made was false,
ii) the statement was made with intent to cause injury without
lawful justification, and
iii) actual economic loss has been suffered as a result of
making the statement.
The key to a claim for injurious falsehood is identity. If the
plaintiff is not identified in the comparative advertisement there
is no tort. However, if the defendant identifies the plaintiff by
implication in the offending advertisement this may be sufficient
for purposes of such an action.
The truth of any statement is a complete defence to a claim for
Unlawful Interference with Economic Relations
In order to succeed with a common law action for the tort of
unlawful interference with economic relations the plaintiff must
(i) The defendant intended to injure the plaintiff and targeted
the plaintiff. Negligent interference or the foreseeability of
economic harm does not amount to intentional interference;
(ii) The defendant has employed unlawful means. Criminal
offences and breaches of statute are not be per se actionable but
the tortwill be available if, under common law principles,
thoseacts also give rise to a civil action by the third party
andinterfered with the plaintiff's economic activity.
(iii) Actual economic loss has been suffered as a result of the
A court of competent jurisdiction in a province has jurisdiction
to hear and determine actions for injurious falsehood or unlawful
interference with economic relations and claims under the Copyright
and Trademarks Acts. However such a court may only grant injunctive
relief that is effective in that province although there may be
The Federal Court of Canada has jurisdiction to hear and
determine actions for claims under the Copyright and Trademarks
Acts concerning which it may grant injunctive relief that is
effective in the entire country. But generally the court has no
jurisdiction relating to claims for injurious falsehood or unlawful
interference with economic relations.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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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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