July 2017

Google and the Global Takedown

July 21, 2017

“One country shouldn’t be able to decide what information people in other countries can access online”      David Price, senior product counsel at Google A risk long anticipated by Internet law observers is that the courts might become more aggressive in regulating online behavior, not just in their own nation, but worldwide. Google, more than any company, has had a target on its back for this kind of case. The obvious example would be a court in one nation ordering Google to takedown (“de-index”) search results for users worldwide. This is exactly what happened in the Canadian Supreme Court’s decision in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc. (June 28, 2017). This case represents the first time the highest court in a country has ordered a search engine to de-index worldwide in the context of a purely commercial two-party dispute. And, as we shall see below, this is a crucial issue for Google – one that it will not concede without a fight. The facts of the Canadian case are straightforward. Equustek, a Canadian company, sued its former distributor, Datalink, on various grounds, including trade secret misappropriation. Datalink moved its offices and web host outside of Canada, but continued to sell its product online. A court order directed at Datalink was ineffective, so Equustek turned to Google, demanding that it remove links to Datalink from Google’s search engine. Google was prepared…

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