The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to
hear an appeal from a decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal
which upheld a worldwide injunction against Google Inc.
("Google"), wherein Google was ordered to stop delivering
search results to its users that pointed to certain websites.
The facts underlying the appeal arose from Equustek Solutions
Inc.'s ("Equustek") attempts to enforce its
intellectual property rights against a former distributor, Datalink
Technologies Gateways Inc. ("Datalink"). Allegedly,
Datalink was passing off Equustek's products as its own and
using Equustek's confidential information and trade secrets to
manufacture a competing product. Equustek was successful in
obtaining various interlocutory orders against Datalink; however,
Datalink failed to comply with those orders, and continued
"clandestine" operations online to market and sell its
In order to more effectively stop Datalink's infringing
activities, Equustek sought an injunction against Google (which was
not a party to the dispute), restraining it from publishing search
results that included Datalink's websites, on the basis that
this was the only way to give effect to the orders already in
place. The B.C. Supreme Court granted the order, and the B.C.
Court of Appeal upheld the order on appeal.
In its brief reasons granting leave to appeal, the Supreme Court
of Canada outlined the issues for its consideration:
Under what circumstances may a court order a search engine to
block search results, having regard to the interest in access to
information and freedom of expression, and what limits (either
geographic or temporal) must be imposed on those orders?
Do Canadian courts have the authority to block search results
outside of Canada's borders?
Under what circumstances, if any, is a litigant entitled to an
interlocutory injunction against a non-party that is not alleged to
have done anything wrong?
Whatever the Supreme Court of Canada decides in this matter will
hopefully provide direction and clarify the law regarding the
ability of a Canadian Court to grant a worldwide injunction, as
well as with respect to access to information and freedom of
expression in the digital age.
We will keep you updated.
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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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