Category Archives: IP Law

Corporate Damages for Defamation

A corporation can be defamed just like a person, however, there are unique challenges and considerations where the defamed party is a corporation that are important to be aware of.  The main difference is with respect to how the Court will approach damages vis-à-vis a corporate plaintiff.

Libel & Slander Act v The Internet

Ontario’s Libel and Slander Act[1] contains certain notice and claim requirements and deadlines which, if not followed, will act as a bar against any potential action for defamation.  In particular:

  • Section 5(1) provides that no action for libel in a “newspaper” or in a “broadcast” lies unless a plaintiff, within six weeks after the alleged libel has come to the plaintiff’s knowledge, gives written notice to the defendant.
  • Section 6, for its part, states that an action for a libel in a “newspaper” or in a “broadcast” must be commenced within three months after the libel has come to the knowledge of the person defamed.

Worldwide injunction against Google confirmed by BCCA

On June 11th the British Columbia Court of Appeal released its decision in Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Google Inc. 1, wherein the Court confirmed the chambers judge’s motion decision granting a worldwide injunction against Google, a non party to the main action, that prohibits it from including specific websites in the results delivered by its search engines.

Anatomy of a Defamation Claim

The Court of Appeal has appropriately stated that “pleadings in defamation cases are more important than in any other class of actions”.1  This is because the law contains technical requirements for pleading defamation as a cause of action that must be strictly adhered to.  A misstep here or a misstep there can invalidate your claim.

Damages for Online Defamation

[…] the Internet is also potentially a medium of virtually limitless international defamation [emphasis added].

–  R.A. Blair J.A., Ontario Court of Appeal quoting Matthew Collins, The Law of Defamation and the Internet (Oxford University Press, 2001)

The hay day for people to retreat to the internet and anonymously and publicly defame others behind a veil of secrecy, without feat of liability, are coming to an end.