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Interlocutory Injunction Upheld Against Non-Party (Google Inc.)

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has upheld an interlocutory injunction made against Google Inc., a non-party, in litigation between Equustek Solutions Inc. and Datalink Technologies Gateways Inc.  The decision is available here.

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had counterfeited their product.  In an effort to prevent the defendants from selling the counterfeit product, which was being done over the internet, the plaintiffs sought and obtained an interlocutory injunction against Google Inc., a Delaware corporation based in California, ordering it to exclude a list of certain web sites from search results.  The aim was to stop customers from finding the defendants.  Google Inc. appealed the injunction on several grounds.

A Court’s Inherent Jurisdiction to Sit Outside its Home Territory

Another step in the evolution of the common law on this issue has been taken by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Parsons v Ontario, 2015 ONCA 158 (available here).  The court disagrees in some respects with the earlier decision, on the same issue, of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Endean v British Columbia, 2014 BCCA 61 (available here) (discussed by me over a year ago here).  It may be that in light of this conflict the Supreme Court of Canada will end up hearing appeals of either or both decisions.

People infected with the Hepatitis C virus by the Canadian blood supply between 1986 and 1990 initiated class actions in each of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.  These actions were settled under an agreement which provided for ongoing administration of the compensation process by a designated judge in each of the three provinces.  In 2012 the issue arose as to whether the period for advancing a claim to compensation could be extended.  Rather than having three separate motions in each of the provinces before each judge to address that issue, counsel for the class proposed a single hearing before the three judges, to take place in Alberta where all of them would happen to be on other judicial business.  In the face of objections to that process, motions were brought in each province to determine whether such an approach was possible.  The initial decision in each province was that a court could sit outside its home province.  The Quebec decision was not appealed but the other two were.

Article on special jurisdiction in IP matters, including a comment on Coty

DavidoffThe previously reported CJEU decision in Coty Germany GmbH v. First Note Perfumes NV, concerning the infringement of the rights in the 3D Community trade mark, unlawful comparative advertising and unfair imitation, is the subject of a comment by Prof. Annette Kur, in her article Durchsetzung gemeinschaftsweiter Schutz-rechte: Internationale Zuständigkeit und an-wendbares Recht, fortcomming in GRUR Int., Issue 7/8, 2014.

Her criticism is primarily addressing the answer to the first question in which the CJEU reiterated that jurisdiction under Article 93(5) of CTM Regulation may be established solely in favour of CTM courts in the MS in which the defendant committed the alleged unlawful act. This is because she finds an interpretation of the provision contrary to the principle of territoriality of intellectual property rights, both national and unitary. She explains that the effect of this principle is absence of any possibility that there might be a single infringement of an intellectual property right with the event causing damage in one country, and the damage occurring in another. In such a situation there would be two distinct acts of infringement, one in each of the countries. Kur qualifies the CJEU reasoning as a fundamental misunderstanding of the structural features of the intellectual property law that distinguish it from other areas of tort law.

Not So Fast: Canadian Courts Cannot Sit Everywhere

In an earlier post I discussed three first-instance decisions of Canadian courts, one from each of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, holding that the court could, at its discretion, sit outside the province.

Two of those decisions were appealed and one appeal has now been decided.  In Endean v British Columbia, 2014 BCCA 61 (available here) the Court of Appeal has reversed the lower court’s decision in British Columbia and called into question the other two lower court decisions.

The court held (at para 82) that “British Columbia judges cannot conduct hearings that take place outside the province. Such a major law reform is for the legislature to determine.”  The court did note that “There is, however, no objection to a judge who is not personally present in the province conducting a hearing that takes place in a British Columbia courtroom by telephone, video conference or other communication medium”.

Milan Conference on the Reform of the Brussels I Regime (13 December 2013)

The University “Luigi Bocconi” of Milan will host on Friday 13 December (9h30 – 13h00) a conference on the recast of the Brussels I reg., organized in collaboration with the International Law Association: “The Reform of the ‘Brussels I’ Regime – The Recast Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012”. A substantial part of the colloquium will be held in English. Here’s the programme (available as a .pdf file):

Welcome Address: Giorgio Sacerdoti (Università Bocconi)

Opening Remarks: Alberto Malatesta (Secretary, ILA-Italy)

Chair: Fausto Pocar (Università degli Studi di Milano)

  • The Revised Brussels I Regulation – A general outlook: The Rt. Hon. Lord Jonathan Mance (Judge, Supreme Court of the UK and Chair, Executive Council, ILA);

Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa

Published this week is Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2013) by Prof. Richard Oppong of Thompson Rivers University. 

From the book’s website:

The book won the 2013 American Society of International Law prize in Private International Law.  The prize ‘recognizes exceptional work in private international law’.  The Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, Dr. Christophe Bernasconi, observes in his foreword to the book that: ‘The publication of Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa marks a significant milestone in the history and development of private international law in Africa.  Its encyclopaedic analysis of fifteen national legal systems – which account for over 40 per cent of the continent’s population yet over 70 per cent of its economic output – will go a long way to filling a gap in knowledge in respect of this important region of the world’.

Can a Court Sit Outside its Territorial Jurisdiction?

In Parsons v The Canadian Red Cross Society, 2013 ONSC 3053 (available here), Winkler CJ (of the Court of Appeal, here sitting down in the Superior Court of Justice) has held that a judge of the SCJ can sit as such outside Ontario.  No authority, it seems, requires the SCJ to sit only in Ontario.

The decision seems to me, at least on an initial reading, largely based on pragmatism.  It seems efficient to so allow and so the court does.  But I have some preliminary sense that there are some larger concerns here that are not being fully thought through.  The place where a court sits seems awfully fundamental to its existence and authority as a court.  In addition, the brushing aside of concerns about the open court principle (see paras 48-50) seems too minimal.

Part of the decision is based on Morguard and the federal nature of Canada (see para 25), so maybe the judge could not so sit outside Canada?

Ontario Court Refuses to Hear Chevron/Ecuador Enforcement Action

As many of you know, in 2011 several residents of Ecuador won a judgment in the courts of that country against Chevron Corporation for some $18 billion.  In 2012 the successful plaintiffs sued Chevron Corporation and Chevron Canada Ltd. in Ontario, seeking to have the Ecuadorian judgment enforced there.  The defendants brought a motion challenging the Ontario court’s jurisdiction to hear the action.  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has now released its decision, siding with the defendants.  The decision has not yet been posted on CanLII but is available here.  The plaintiffs’ lawyer has publicly indicated that his clients will appeal.

Key aspects of the decision have been summarized by Roger Alford on the Opinio Juris website (here).

 

Articles on the SCC’s Van Breda v Club Resorts

Things have been pretty quiet on the conflict of laws front in Canada over the past several months.  But lower courts and academics have been working to understand the new framework for taking jurisdiction set out in April 2012 by the Supreme Court of Canada in Van Breda v Club Resorts (available here).

Several useful articles have now been written about this decision:

Tanya Monestier, “(Still) a ‘Real and Substantial’ Mess: The Law of Jurisdiction in Canada” (2013) 36 Fordham International Law Journal 396

Vaughan Black, “Simplifying Court Jurisdiction in Canada” (2012) 8 Journal of Private International Law 411

Joost Blom, “New Ground Rules for Jurisdictional Disputes: The Van Breda Quartet” (2012) 53 Canadian Business Law Journal 1

New Book on Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act

Thomson Reuters Carswell has just published Statutory Jurisdiction: An Analysis of the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act by Vaughan Black, Stephen G.A. Pitel and Michael Sobkin.  More information is available here.
 
The Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act puts the important topic of the jurisdiction of Canadian provincial courts in civil and commercial cases on a clearer statutory footing.  It is in force in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.  The approach to jurisdiction adopted under the CJPTA is different in several respects from the common law approach, and so provinces that have adopted it are undergoing a period of transition.  One of the key issues for courts in applying the CJPTA is interpreting its provisions and explaining how they operate.  Statutory Jurisdiction: An Analysis of the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act examines the growing body of cases and provides a comprehensive account of how the CJPTA is being interpreted and applied by the courts. 
 
The Supreme Court of Canada has, in its April 2012 decisions on jurisdiction, indicated a willingness to develop the common law in a way that is highly mindful of the approach taken under the CJPTA.  As a result, the analysis of the CJPTA will also be of use to those in Canadian common law provinces and territories that have not enacted the CJPTA. 
 
The book may also appeal as a comparative law resource on conflict of laws, especially to those interested in how traditional rules can be affected, directly and indirectly, by statutory reform.