Abandoned border by mtsrs (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/49aR7g

Abandoned border by mtsrs (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/49aR7g

Jurisdiction

Courts Adopt Aggressive Approach in Cross-Border Internet Jurisdiction Cases

In a world where data now moves effortlessly between computers on the Internet without regard for geographic borders, is the appearance of a website on a computer screen sufficient for a court to claim that a trademark has been used in the country? Is the use of a computer server enough to assert jurisdiction over a non-resident?  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that two recent cross-border cases – one Canadian and one U.S. which both pitted a U.S. company against a Canadian individual – found that it is.

The Canadian case involved a trade-mark dispute over the mark VRBO. Martin Hrdlicka, a Toronto resident, registered the mark in Canada in 2009. Just over a year later, Homeaway.com, a U.S. company that owns the popular VRBO.com site, sought to expunge the trade-mark on the grounds that Hrdlicka was not entitled to register the mark and had no intent to use it.

Homeaway.com’s legal challenge was that the company had no operations in Canada, though many Canadians may have accessed its U.S.-based website. Trade-mark law requires some use of the mark in Canada, yet the “use” in this case was largely confined to the availability of the VRBO website on computer screens.

Read more ›

January 9, 2013 6 comments Columns

Courts Adopt Aggressive Approach in Cross-Border Internet Jurisdiction Cases

Appeared in the Toronto Star on January 6, 2013 as Courts Adopt Aggressive Approach in Cross-Border Internet Jurisdiction Cases In a world where data now moves effortlessly between computers on the Internet without regard for geographic borders, is the appearance of a website on a computer screen sufficient for a […]

Read more ›

January 9, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

All Your Internets Belong to US, Continued: The Bodog.com Case

Imagine a scenario in which a country enacts a law that bans the sale of asbestos and includes the power to seize the assets of any company selling the product anywhere in the world. The country tests the law by obtaining a court order to seize key assets of a Canadian company, whose operations with hundreds of employees takes a major hit. The Canadian government is outraged, promising to support the company in its efforts to restore its operations.

That is the opening of my technology law column this week (Toronto Star version, homepage version) which continues by noting this scenario became reality last week, though the product was not asbestos and the Canadian government has yet to respond. The case involves Bodog.com, a Canadian-owned online sports gaming site and the country doing the seizing was the United States. Supporting online gaming operations will undoubtedly make governments somewhat squeamish, but the broader implications of last week’s seizure touch on millions of websites and Internet companies who now find themselves subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

Read more ›

March 6, 2012 30 comments Columns

All Your Internets Belong To US, Continued

Appeared on March 4, 2012 in the Toronto Star as Bodog.com case sends warning to all Canadian websites Imagine a scenario in which a country enacts a law that bans the sale of asbestos and includes the power to seize the assets of any company selling the product anywhere in […]

Read more ›

March 5, 2012 1 comment Columns Archive

U.S. Seizes Canadian-Owned and Registered Domain Name

The EasyDNS blog has an excellent – albeit scary – post on the U.S. government seizure of bodog.com, the Canadian-owned online gambling site. The domain was seized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security despite the fact that it was Canadian registered. The only U.S. connection is that the dot-com […]

Read more ›

March 1, 2012 8 comments Must Reads