The Supreme Court of Canada Ruling Sided with Our Client, ICBCAdvice.com
As previously discussed, the BC Court of Appeal rejected ICBC’s attempt to block the website www.icbcadvice.com, an independent resource to assist claimants in dealing with ICBC. Wes Mussio acted as counsel for the website and is also listed as a featured writer.
ICBC appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision
As reported this week in the Vancouver Sun, we are pleased to announce that the Supreme Court of Canada declined to review the Court of Appeal’s result:
“We are very happy to see the case finally come to a close with the Supreme Court of Canada dismissing ICBC’s case in its entirety,” said lawyer Wesley Mussio, who represents website operator Stainton Ventures Ltd..
The Supreme Court of Canada ruling was released Thursday.
“This result not only helps maintain the public service website, ICBCadvice.com, but also allows dozens of other websites that use the term ‘ICBC’ to continue to operate,” Mussio said. “Indeed, a simple Google search results in dozens of websites that use ICBC in their name. Had ICBC been successful, it would have had a major impact on many websites run by ICBC service providers including lawyers and repair shops. All these websites would have had to shut down or change their names had the courts sided with ICBC.”
ICBC Comment on the Decision
Spokesman Adam Grossman said Thursday that ICBC is disappointed with the court decision.
“We had pursued this case because we have an obligation to prevent customer confusion and believed some customers might see the domain name and think the website and its content are being provided by ICBC, when in fact it’s being provided by a third party. We always seek to ensure our customers clearly know when they’re dealing with us and when they’re dealing with others.”
According to Stainton Ventures, the website started in 2006 to help the public deal with ICBC on injury or property damage claims.
ICBC demanded that the website be taken down and the domain name be transferred to ICBC. The insurer argued in B.C. Supreme Court that it owned the trademark “ICBC’ and that Stainton Ventures were infringing on ICBC’s rights.
In 2012, the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed ICBC’s claim. ICBC lost again last year before the B.C. Court of Appeal.
In the 2012 decision, Justice Christopher Grauer ruled ICBCadvice.com’s use of ICBC does “not constitute misrepresentation because they are not likely to deceive the public.”
Mussio noted Thursday that anyone visiting the website would quickly learn that it is an independent entity with no involvement with ICBC.
“In fact, it’s very clear that the website gives information that is contrary to ICBC’s interests, particularly with respect to educating members of the public on how to deal with the insurer.”
He said the site “can now be revamped to further assist the public on how to handle ICBC injury and property damage claims.”