Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Worldwide De-Indexing Order Against Google

Robert Kalanda, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Appeals, Brand Protection, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Counterfeit Goods, Cross-Border Litigation, Cyber Risks, eCommerce | Online Retail, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Of Interest to US Counsel, Technology and Internet0 Comments

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc. has approved the use of a worldwide injunction directing Google to de-index the defendant’s website used to facilitate the sale of goods in violation of the Equustek’s intellectual property rights. Equustek obtained an interlocutory injunction against the website owner directly, however the defendant left Canada, refused to comply with the order, and continued to sell products on their website from an unknown location. To help prevent or reduce further ongoing harm, Equustek sought for Google to de-index the site, making it less likely that a potential purchaser will discover the infringing website. Google initially agreed to de-index the result from Canadian search results on google.ca, but refused to enforce this order worldwide. It was concerned that the Canadian courts were using Google to usurp the laws of other nations, particularly on free speech issues, and potentially would force Google … Read More

Supreme Court of Canada Narrowly Rules Facebook’s Jurisdiction Clause Unenforceable

Robert Kalanda, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Cyber Risks, eCommerce | Online Retail, Information Technology, Internet | Technology, Jurisdictional Challenges, Technology and Internet0 Comments

Facebook, and most other large social media and internet companies, set out in their terms of use that users of their services must bring any litigation disputes in the jurisdiction of their choice. However, in Douez v. Facebook, the Supreme Court of Canada has recently held, in a 4-3 decision, that Facebook could not enforce that clause against the plaintiff, a British Columbia woman complaining that their use of her photo and name in advertising breached her rights under British Columbia’s Privacy Act. Notably, the Privacy Act specifically requires that any action under that statute “must be heard” by the British Columbia Supreme Court. The majority held that while a jurisdiction clause is ordinarily enforceable, it could not be enforced in this instance as doing so would violate public policy, since the quasi-constitutional rights the statute provides and the exclusive jurisdiction to BC courts it requires means that the statute ought to be interpreted … Read More

CASL Private Right of Action Suspended Indefinitely

Robert Kalanda, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Commercial, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Cyber Risks, Insurance, Internet | Technology0 Comments

In a recent press release, the Canadian government stated that they will be suspending the introduction of the private right of action set out in Canada’s anti-spam legislation (frequently referred to as CASL). The private right of action was meant to come into effect on July 1, 2017, but the government has suspended the implementation of this section to give a parliamentary committee more time to review the legislation and determine the best course of action to balance the protection of Canadian consumers against minimizing extra costs and unintended breaches by business owners. The legislation has received mixed reviews thus far. While undoubtedly a step forward in minimizing unwanted spam, many business owners have expressed concern that the definition of commercial activity are vague, the requirements for consent are onerous, and the penalties for even unintentional non-compliance are harsh. The private right of action (most likely to be done as class … Read More

Ontario Court Identifies New Presumptive Connecting Factor in Establishing Jurisdiction

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In Arend v Boehm, 2017 ONSC 3424, the three Applicants in a corporate dispute applied for orders pursuant to the oppression remedy (section 248) of the Ontario Business Corporations Act in respect of BitRush, an Ontario company. The Judge noted that BitRush’s business was “reflective of the worldwide impact of business connected with the internet.”  The international character of BitRush’s business was reflected in the identity of the Respondents, who were: 1) BitRush’s CEO, an Austrian resident; 2) a former BitRush board member, also an Austrian resident; 3) BitRush’s majority shareholder, a UK company; and 4) another Austrian resident. The Applicants sought: 1) a declaration that the Respondent CEO has acted oppressively, in breach of his fiduciary duty to BitRush; 2) an order transferring shares of BitRush from the Respondent UK company to certain other stakeholders; and 3) an order that the Respondent UK company’s remaining shares in BitRush be … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Law Applicable to Bifurcation of Disputes between Court and Arbitration

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes0 Comments

In Wellman v. TELUS Communications Company, 2017 ONCA 433, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently considered the law applicable to determining whether to bifurcate a dispute between court proceedings and arbitration.   In Wellman v. TELUS, the plaintiffs consisted of consumers and businesses.  The plaintiffs commenced a class action against the defendant, Telus, regarding alleged overbilling.  The Telus contact contained an arbitration clause.  Telus acknowledged that the arbitration clause was not binding on the consumer plaintiffs (due to the Consumer Protection Act, 2002).  But Telus’s position was the the business plaintiffs were bound by the arbitration clause. Telus brought a motion to stay the business plaintiffs’ class action in favour of arbitration.  Telus relied upon, among other things, section 7(5) of the Ontario Arbitration Act, which provides for a partial stay of court proceedings to be granted where an arbitration agreement deals with only some of the matters in respect … Read More

Possible Changes to Choice of Court Agreements and Recognition of Foreign Judgments

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Forum Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Offshore0 Comments

Ontario recently enacted the International Choice of Court Agreements Convention Act, 2017, which will give effect to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (the “Hague Convention”) in Ontario once Canada ratifies the Hague Convention.  (Canada has not yet signed or ratified the Hague Convention.  It is not yet known when Canada will ratify the Hague Convention. The Uniform Law Conference of Canada adopted a model implementation statute in 2010, suggesting that Canada may sign and ratify the Hague Convention.) In preparation for ratification, Ontario businesses should be aware of the Hague Convention’s key features, including: • where parties of member States have expressly agreed to a court in their contract, the court selected by parties must act in every case as long as the choice of court agreement is valid. The agreed Court does not have discretion (on forum non conveniens or other grounds) to decline jurisdiction in favour of courts of another State. • any court … Read More

The Importance of Brand Protection

Robert Kalanda, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Brand Protection, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Copyright Infringement, Counterfeit Goods, Domain Name Disputes, Entertainment and Media, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Internet | Technology, Media Litigation, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

In many cases, a business’s brand, reputation, and goodwill, can be its most important assets. Customers will visit, re-visit, and refer others to a business because of the reputation created through its successful branding initiatives and quality products and services.  Therefore, it is important for any business to be aware of the tools available to protect their brand from being devalued or misused by others. Some of these tools are preventative, such as by registering a trademark with CIPO. the USPTO, or other national trademark offices, and by ensuring the proper assignments or licences are set out in any contracts with any designers or users of your trademarks. The copyrights for creative works can be registered, while fashion designers can seek protection of their creations as an industrial design. Unfortunately, the more successful a trademark or brand, the more likely it is to be used by copycats, counterfeiters, and competitors to drive business … Read More

International Sale of Goods – the Law Applicable in Ontario

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Offshore, Sale of Goods0 Comments

Many Ontario businesses buy and sell goods from foreign companies.  However, few Ontario businesses are aware that different laws apply to international purchases and sales of goods. For purchases and sales of goods between Ontario companies, the Ontario Sale of Goods Act will typically apply.  However, for purchases and sales of goods between Ontario and foreign companies, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (the “CISG”) will typically apply. The CISG is “Ontario law”.  It is enacted in Ontario by the International Sales Conventions Act. There are a number of key differences between the Ontario Sale of Goods Act and the CISG.  One of the most notable is the obligation on the buyer to inspect goods (article 38) and give notice of any non-conformity (article 39).  The inspection obligation imposed by article 38 can have significant consequences: if the buyer fails to detect a lack of conformity … Read More

Court Considers When Jurisdiction May be Found Against Sole Officer And Director of Foreign Corporation

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Jurisdictional Challenges0 Comments

In Olympique CMCT Inc. v Les Industries Pancor Limitée, 2017 ONSC 1929, the Plaintiff, Olympique, was a Quebec company. Olympique obtained default judgment in a Quebec action against the Defendants Pancor, an insolvent Ontario company, and Panarese, Pancor’s sole officer and director.    Olympique brought an action in Ontario seeking recognition and enforcement of the Quebec judgment against Panarese in Ontario.  Panarese argued that Ontario should not enforce the Quebec judgment because, among other reasons, the Quebec Court did not have jurisdiction to grant the Quebec judgment against him. Panarese lived in Ontario.  Pancor was primarily located in Ontario.  However, the Court stated that it was sufficient that Quebec had a real and substantial connection with the subject matter of the action, even if it had no connection with Panarese.  The Court found that Panarese signed purchase orders which were transmitted to Olympique in Quebec, meaning that the contracts between Pancor and … Read More

Court Refuses to Authorize Shareholder Buyout in Absence of Oppression

Robert Kalanda, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Commercial Litigation, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

The Ontario Business Corporations Act provides a wide range of remedies to a person affected by the actions of a corporation or its directors that are found to be oppressive, unfairly prejudicial, or unfairly disregard the interests of that person. Most commonly, these remedies are sought by minority shareholders when actions are taken or threatened that would unfairly hurt their interests. One of those remedies is to direct the corporation, or any other person, to purchase the shares of the complainant. This remedy essentially allows shareholders to be relieved of their shares for a fair price, leaving the corporation and its remaining shareholders to carry on without further complaint from the complainant. However, this remedy does not create a free-standing right for a shareholder of a privately-held corporation to force the sale of his or her shares for any reason. This principle was recently confirmed in Wilfred v Dare et al. In that case, the complainant sought … Read More

Supreme Court Considers Oppression Remedy

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

In Mennillo v. Intramodal inc., 2016 SCC 51, the Supreme Court of Canada addressed the application of the oppression remedy under the Canada Business Corporations Act (“CBCA”), which applies to federally incorporated companies.  (The Ontario Business Corporations Act, which applies to Ontario incorporated companies, also contains an oppression remedy). The case involved a private corporation with originally two shareholders.  There was no shareholders’ agreement.  The Court described the parties’ dealings as being “marked by extreme informality”.  One of the two shareholders, Mennillo, eventually resigned as officer and director of the company by providing a notice of resignation.  The notice did not address his status as a shareholder.   There was conflicting evidence from the parties about whether Mennillo intended to cease being a shareholder.  Ultimately, the trial judge accepted that Mennillo’s withdrawal from the company included his intention to no longer guarantee the company’s debts.  The trial judge found that Mennillo agreed … Read More

Family Business Dispute, Start Up Company Dispute, and Closely-Held Company Litigation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBusiness Litigation, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Injunction & Specific Performance, Oppression Remedies, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes, Start-Up Disputes0 Comments

We have experience acting for, advising and representing those in closely-held company litigation, both arising from family business disputes and from start-up company disputes. Family Business Disputes Many businesses in Canada are family businesses or have evolved from family businesses. Family businesses present many unique challenges as they grow, as key members of the company or partnership leave the family business, or when personal relationships of the key members of the family business change or deteriorate. One of the most common differences between a family business and other established businesses, whether or not a shareholders’ agreement, partnership agreement and other legal documentation was used in the formation of the family business, is the informality in operation of the family business, including the often ignored distinction in fact between employees, shareholders, or partners – since family members take on multiple roles. Please see our webpage on Family and Closely Held Business Disputes. Start Up Company … Read More

Shareholder Disputes, Oppression Remedy, and Directors and Officers Liability

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBusiness Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Oppression Remedies, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Our lawyers have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for small and mid-sized Ontario corporations, shareholders, directors, officers, executives and creditors in corporate disputes and shareholder disputes. We have acted in both oppression remedy action and derivative actions. Oppression Remedy The oppression remedy is a mechanism in the Ontario Business Corporations Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act to protect the interests of shareholders and stakeholders in a corporation against wrongful conduct.  Whether the Ontario or Canada Act will apply depends on the jurisdiction in which the corporation was incorporated. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the acts of other shareholders, the board of directors or other affiliates of the corporation. When any act or omission of the corporation or any of its affiliates effects or threatens to effect a result; the business or affairs of the corporation or any of its affiliates are, … Read More

Partnership Disputes & Joint Venture Litigation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Law, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Joint Venture Disputes, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes, Start-Up Disputes0 Comments

Our lawyers have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for partners in small and mid-sized partnerships, and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and contractual parties and partners in joint ventures. Partnership Disputes Partnership is a relationship between persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit, which is not a corporation. It is one of the most commonly used business associations for small and medium-sized business. A partnership can be created at law and the Partnerships Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.5 sets out rules for determining existence of partnership, though commonly the parties enter into a partnership agreement. Joint Venture – Is it a Partnership? Joint ventures are often established to synergize what each member of the joint venture can add to the consortium. Sometimes a joint venture is the structure chosen because those members engaged in the joint venture are located in different jurisdictions. While invariably created by contractual agreement, some … Read More

Former Employee Ordered to Transfer Social Media Accounts in Trade-Mark and Copyright Infringement Case

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property0 Comments

The Federal Court decision in Thoi Bao Inc. v. 1913075 Ontario Limited involved a former employee of the plaintiff developing and operating a competing online news website that infringed on the plaintiff’s trade-marks and copyrighted content. The plaintiff, Thoi Bao, is a well-known Vietnamese language news company that provides news services throughout Canada in a variety of formats including newspapers, radio, television and online.  The company’s website, www.thoibao.com, provides online content such as news, editorials, opinions, links to other news agency services, self-produced television shows and newscasts. The former employee registered the domain name, www. thoibaotv.com, without the knowledge or consent of the plaintiff and began offering online news services in Canada in the Vietnamese language.  The former employee did not appear to make any effort to conceal his activities because the infringing website prominently used TBTV Online as the website title, streamed webcasts that were produced by the plaintiff, and incorporated … Read More

Superior Court Refuses to Strike Adware Breach of Privacy Claims

Robert Kalanda, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Cyber Risks, Information Technology0 Comments

In Bennett v Lenovo, the plaintiff alleged breach of contract, breach of the implied condition of merchantability, the tort of intrusion upon seclusion, and breach of provincial privacy laws as a result of the factory installation of an alleged adware program “Virtual Discovery” on certain Lenovo laptops. The Court allowed the claim to proceed on three of the causes of action, dismissing only the breach of contract claim. The plaintiff asserted that the Virtual Discovery program intercepted a user’s internet traffic to analyze it and display targeted advertising to the user based on that analysis. The plaintiff claimed that these actions were a breach of his privacy, was a vulnerability that exposed his information to third party hackers, and caused the laptop to be unfit for any online use, as well as negatively impacting performance and battery life. The defendant asserted that the claims had no chance of success and should be … Read More

Court of Appeal Provides Guidance On Pleading Defamation

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Civil Litigation, Commercial Litigation0 Comments

In The Catalyst Capital Group Inc. v. Veritas Investment Research Corporation, the parties were involved in the venture capital industry.  The plaintiff company alleged that the defendants had attempted to damage the plaintiff with a “short selling” strategy.  The plaintiff claimed damages for conspiracy to injure, intentional interference with economic relations, and defamation.   As part of the defamation claim, the plaintiff alleged that defamatory material was published by one of the defendants to known individuals on known dates as well as to to unknown people on unknown dates.  The defendants brought a motion to strike the allegations of unknown publication, arguing that it was impermissible in a defamation claim to plead publication to unknown people on unknown dates.  The motion judge agreed, and ordered that specific allegation be struck out. On appeal, the Court of Appeal disagreed.  The Court of Appeal acknowledged that defamation claims are typically held to … Read More