Euro-Excellence, which successfully battled Kraft at the Supreme Court of Canada over the parallel importation of chocolate into Canada, has caved to round two of the dispute and settled the matter. While the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Copyright Act could not be used to block the chocolate […]
Post Tagged with: "kraft"
McGill's Richard Gold has an op-ed in today's Globe and Mail lamenting Kraft's decision to restart copyright litigation against EuroExcellence over the importation of chocolate. Gold notes that "this is exactly the kind of misuse of the law that judges say is undermining the public's respect for the justice system." […]
The Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in the Euro-Excellence v. Kraft Foods case this morning, overturning the lower court decisions to find that the Copyright Act could not be used to block the parallel importation of Toblerone and Cote D'Or chocolates from Europe into Canada (I attended the SCC hearing and commented here). Kraft Canada tried to use copyright law to block the imports, arguing that while the chocolates were legit, the inclusion of the image of the mountain on the Toblerone bar involved an infringement of copyright.
The decision will take some time to unpack as, unusually for this court, it includes written reasons from four justices. In a nutshell, seven members of the court (Abella and McLachlin dissented) ruled that the Copyright Act could not be used to block the parallel imports for two different reasons. This represents an important finding as the court took a clear stand against the claim by Kraft Canada that it could use copyright to block the parallel imports. In doing so, one block of the court limits its decision to statutory interpretation of the Copyright Act, while a second block establishes a new copyright doctrine that suggests that the Copyright Act only protects "legitimate economic interests." In reading the decision, there is the sense that the court was uncomfortable with the use of copyright here, yet split on whether to adopt a conservative approach that relies solely on the text of the Act or to more aggressively interpret the Act to include the legitimate economic interest doctrine.
The Supreme Court of Canada has just announced that it will release its decision in Euro-Excellence v. Kraft Canada on Thursday. The case raises some interesting copyright issues including the prospect of explicitly incorporating the copyright misuse doctrine into Canadian law.