Today, the Supreme Court of Canada denied application for leave to appeal in Lojas Renner S.A. v. Tucows.Com Co. (Ont.) (Civil) (By Leave) (34481) Coram: Deschamps / Fish / Karakatsanis.
The dispute was over the right to the internet domain name “renner.com”. The applicant, Lojas Renner S.A., operates a number of retail department stores in Brazil and owns the registered trademark “Renner”, while the respondent, Tucows.com, is a Canadian domain name registrar which purchased the domain name “renner.com” in 2006 and is the registrant of that domain name with the internationally-recognized non-profit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”). Lojas Renner S.A.’s motion to set aside service ex juris of Tucows.com statement of claim and to stay the action for want of jurisdiction was granted. The Ontario Court of Appeal unanimously allowed Tucows.com’s appeal. The Court of Appeal for Ontario held that Ontario had jurisdiction over the dispute, finding that a domain name is personal property and that presence-based jurisdiction is established if the plaintiff’s servers are physically located in Ontario.
Lojas Renner S.A. unsuccessfully sought leave to appeal on the following issues:
- Whether the Court of Appeal erred in stating that the policy of the UDRP is to “refer” legitimate disputes to the Court?
- Whether the Court of Appeal erred in holding that the Superior Court of Ontario’s jurisdiction was “unlimited and unrestricted”?
- Whether the Court of Appeal erred in making no assessment of whether the claim before it was justiciable?
- Whether the Court of Appeal erred in determining in the abstract that a domain name was “personal property in Ontario”?
- Whether the Court of Appeal erred in failing to consider whether it accords with principles of order, fairness and comity to read “intangible” into Rule 17.02 – Rules of Civil Procedure, R.S.O. 1990, Reg. 194, Rules 17.02(a), 17.06(1).
I previously wrote a case comment about this important internet jurisdiction case: “The Internet as Property: The Implications of Tucows.Com Co. v. Lojas Renner S.A., and SOPA”, The Globetrotter, OBA International Law Section Newsletter, Volume 16, No. 1 – December 2011 [pdf].