The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered Google to remove the website of a technology company from its search engine results worldwide, in what appears to be a landmark ruling.
The court order made June 13 is part of a battle between Equustek, a Burnaby, B.C., technology company that manufactures networking devices for industrial equipment, and its rival Datalink.
Equustek alleges Datalink conspired with a former Equustek engineer to steal its product design and then sell it on the internet.
Equustek had already obtained court orders requiring Google to remove Datalink websites from its Canadian search results, but argued they are virtually useless because of the global nature of web sales.
So Equustek asked Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon to order Google to block all Datalink websites from its search engine results worldwide.
Google's lawyers responded that the B.C. court did not have the jurisdiction over it because the company's operations are not in B.C., and because such an order would be unenforceable and because it would infringe on its lawful business.
But Fenlon decided she had jurisdiction to do that because Equustek is in B.C., and despite being headquartered in the U.S., Google clearly does business in the province as well, by selling ads and providing search results.
The case has the potential to be precedent-setting, because while other courts have ordered Google to act on a country-by-country basis, there is no known case of a worldwide court order.
"The courts must adapt to the reality of e-commerce with its potential for abuse by those who would take the property of others and sell it through the borderless electronic web of the internet," Fenlon ruled.
Fenlon gave Google 14 days to block Datalink from its search engine results. The Globe and Mail reported that Google says it intends to appeal the decision.