Post Tagged with: "supreme court of canada"

Canadian Supreme Court Establishes “Responsible Communication” Defence in Defamation Cases

This morning the Supreme Court of Canada established a new defence in defamation cases in Grant v. Torstar Corp., which it is calling the "responsible communication" defence.  The defence is designed to provide greater protection for communications on matters of public interest.  The court establishes several conditions to the test, including the scope of its application.  In a big win for new media and bloggers, it concludes that the defence applies broadly:

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December 22, 2009 8 comments News

SCC to Make Factums Available Online

Simon Fodden reports from the LexUM Conference (I'm there too) that Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michel Bastarache just informed the conference that the Court is committed to providing factums online beginning with a series of test cases next year.

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October 25, 2007 Comments are Disabled News

Dell Case Sets Standard for Online Contracts

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, The Tyee version, homepage version) examines the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision involving Dell Computer, online contracting, and mandatory arbitration clauses.  Late on a Friday afternoon in April 2003, Dell Computer's Canadian website featured a pair of erroneous prices for the Axim, the company's handheld computer.  Rather than listing the two versions of the device correctly at $379 and $549, the site indicated that the price was $89 and $118.  Dell blocked access to the pages the following day, however, the mistakes remained accessible throughout the weekend via a direct hyperlink.

Dell typically sold about three Axims each weekend, yet on this particular April weekend, 354 Quebec-based consumers placed 509 orders. Olivier Dumoulin was among those consumers and when Dell refused to honour the mistaken price, he joined forces with a Quebec-based consumer group to launch a class action lawsuit against the company.  Dell tried to block the suit, arguing that its consumer contract provided that all disputes were to be resolved by arbitration.

The Dell case wound its way through the Canadian court system, concluding with a Supreme Court of Canada decision last month.  Quebec trial and appellate courts both sided with Dumoulin, ruling that the arbitration clause was not enforceable and that the consumer class action could proceed.  The Supreme Court overturned those decisions, concluding that the arbitration clause was enforceable and that the use of a hyperlink was sufficient.  Dell unsurprisingly welcomed the decision, maintaining that the ability to use arbitration "will lead to the fair and efficient resolution of cases for consumers and business alike."  Consumer groups were furious, stating that the decision marked "a dark day for online shoppers in Canada.”

Yet a closer examination of the decision and the current state of e-commerce in Canada suggests that neither side is right. 

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July 30, 2007 7 comments Columns

Supreme Court Copyright Case Coming on Thursday

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.

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July 23, 2007 1 comment News

The Elephant and the Mountain

This morning I attended the oral hearing for Euro Excellence v. Kraft Foods, the Supreme Court of Canada's latest foray in copyright law in Canada.  The case involves the parallel importation of Toblerone (the mountain) and Cote D'Or (the elephant) chocolates from Europe into Canada.  The hearing involved some almost comical discussion about the creativity associated with the mountain and the elephant, punctuated by Justice Bastarache quizzing the lawyer for Kraft (who is trying to block the imports) whether "you really want us to believe that you want to protect an artistic work" and Justice Binnie asking whether the counsel thought that people purchase Toblerone because of the picture of a mountain on the package. 

While it is notoriously difficult to predict what the court will do based on the hearing, the court virtually gave Euro Excellence a free pass, while challenging Kraft at every turn.  Should the court overturn the Federal Court of Appeal and rule for Euro Excellence, there are two points worth keeping an eye on.  First, Justice Binnie noted that this case felt like an attempt to do through copyright what Kraft is unable to do through trademark law.  The court has been quick to dismiss attempts to substitute one form of IP right for another (consider the Mega Blocks case where the court rejected an attempt to use trademark law after a patent had expired) and might well do the same here.

Second, the court might wade into the doctrine of copyright misuse. 

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January 16, 2007 6 comments News