Internet Law

The internet, like all other fields of human activity, is subject to law. However, the internet is also borderless and this poses significant challenges for courts.

Courts will act against illegal activity on the internet. And, in the right circumstances, courts will grant global orders if a local order will not be enough to address the problem.

We were counsel on Google v. Equustek in the Supreme Court of Canada, one of the leading cases in the world on these issues.

Our clients operate a small engineering technology business, and they retained us to stop their former distributors from manufacturing a copycat product made with stolen trade secrets. We obtained multiple court orders against the distributors ordering them to stop, but instead of complying the distributors fled the jurisdiction and continued selling their illegal product on the internet, from an unknown location.

The court issued a warrant for the distributor’s arrest but there was nothing further we could do against them.

We decided to ask Google for help, because no online business can survive if it can’t be found on Google’s search results. We wrote to Google, told them our client’s story, and asked them to take the distributors’ websites off Google’s search results all over the world. Google refused, and claimed that taking the websites off would violate freedom of expression, so we went to court against Google.

We won at all three levels of court in Canada.

The first level was the BC Supreme Court: 2014 BCSC 1063. Madam Justice Fenlon wrote:

The BC Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and upheld the order against Google: 2015 BCCA 265.

Google appealed further to the Supreme Court of Canada. Once again the court dismissed the appeal and upheld the order against Google: 2017 SCC 34. Madam Justice Abella wrote:

Selected press coverage: