6 November 2017Trademarks

Google handed injunction against Canadian court order

A US judge gave Google an injunction against an order from Canada’s Supreme Court on Thursday, November 2.

District Judge Edward Davila, at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, blocked an order from Canada’s highest court that had commanded Google to de-index the website of Datalink Technology Gateways from its global search results.

British Columbia (BC)-based technology company Equustek Solutions had accused Datalink of re-labelling one of Equustek’s products and passing it off as its own while acting as a distributor.

Equustek also claimed that Datalink had acquired confidential information and trade secrets belonging to the technology company and used them to design and manufacture a competing product.

The BC company then sought an interlocutory injunction to enjoin Google from displaying any part of Datalink’s websites on any of its search results worldwide.

Google had raised freedom of expression concerns and challenged the “propriety and necessity of the extraterritorial reach” of the global order but, in June, Canada’s Supreme Court rejected Google’s appeal.

In July, Google shifted its fight to the US, claiming that it brought the action to “prevent enforcement in the US of a Canadian order that prohibits Google from publishing within the US search result information about the contents of the internet”.

Google is seeking a declaration from the court that the Canadian order is unenforceable in the US as it is inconsistent with the First Amendment and the Communications Decency Act.

According to WIPR readers, the global injunction is consistent with the US’s First Amendment, although they didn’t provide any reasoning.

In an order granting the injunction against the order, Davila said the Canadian ruling “undermines the policy goals of Section 230 [of the Communications Decency Act] and threatens free speech on the global internet”.

“In addition, the balance of equities favours Google because the injunction would deprive it of the benefits of US federal law.”

On Friday, November 3, the court entered default judgment against Equustek.

David Price, senior product counsel at Google, said: "We're pleased with the court's decision to uphold the legal principle that one country shouldn't be able to decide what information people in other countries can access online."

He added: "Undermining this core principle inevitably leads to a world where internet users are subject to the most restrictive content limitations from every country."

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