In its 28 June decision, the Canadian Supreme Court held that Google must remove the website of Datalink Technology Gateways from its search results, after the distributor was found to have unlawfully resold the products of network device manufacturer Equustek Solutions and acquired trade secrets to develop a competing product.
Equustek asked Google to de-index Datalink’s website in 2012, but the search engine refused unless Equustek obtained an injunction against Datalink.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia granted Equustek the injunction, but Google only removed Datalink’s websites from searches on google.ca. Equustek then took the complaint all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court in an attempt to stop Google from indexing Datalink’s websites worldwide.
Siding with Equustek, the Canadian Supreme Court said: “De-indexing webpages but not entire websites proved to be ineffective since Datalink simply moved the objectionable content to new pages within its websites, circumventing the court orders.”
The court said that, if necessary, to ensure an injunction’s effectiveness, a court can grant an injunction enjoining conduct anywhere in the world.
“The problem in this case is occurring online and globally [is] the internet has no borders—its natural habitat is global. The only way to ensure that the interlocutory injunction attained its objective was to have it apply where Google operates—globally.”
The court also rejected Google’s argument that a global injunction violates international comity because the order may not have been obtainable in a foreign jurisdiction.
“If Google has evidence that complying with such an injunction would require it to violate the laws of another jurisdiction, including interfering with freedom of expression, it is always free to apply to the British Columbia courts to vary the interlocutory order accordingly. To date, Google has made no such application,” the Canadian Supreme Court said.