June 28, 2017
Google Inc v Equustek Solutions Inc 2017 SCC 34
The plaintiffs in the on-going litigation, Equustek, (Equustek Solutions Inc v Jack 2014 BCSC 1063) applied for an interim injunction restraining two non-parties, Google Inc. and Google Canada Corporation, from including the websites of a company it is suing, in search results generated by Google’s search engines world-wide.
Equustek manufactures networking devices for industrial equipment. Equustek alleges that another company conspired with a former Equustek employee to steal its product design and sell it on the internet.
Equustek had already obtained a court order requiring Google to remove the websites from its Canadian search results.
The underlying action was commenced in April 2011 and the defendants had failed to comply with various court orders from the outset of proceedings.
The application raised novel questions about the Court’s authority to make such a order against a global internet service provider.
A majority of the SCC ruled that “the test for determining whether the court should exercise its discretion to grant an interlocutory injunction against Google has been met in this case…”
The SCC concluded:
…since the world-wide injunction is the only effective way to mitigate the harm to Equustek pending the trial, the only way, in fact, to preserve Equustek itself pending the resolution of the underlying litigation, and since any countervailing harm to Google is minimal to non-existent, the interlocutory injunction should be upheld.