On July 12, 2021, the Federal Court of Canada (the Court) in Toronto Regional Real Estate Board v R E Stats Inc. (Redatum), 2021 FC 735, granted the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s (TRREB) motion for default judgment for copyright infringement relating to the TRREB Multiple Listing Service and related online systems (TRREB MLS® System), awarding $50,000 in damages.
TRREB is the largest real estate board in Canada and it develops and operates the TRREB MLS® System which provides real estate professional members and partner real estate boards access to a curated online system. The TRREB MLS® System contains detailed information related to the sale of real property, including active real estate sales listings, detailed unique property descriptions, archival information, unique photography, neighbourhood descriptions, listing schools and community features. The defendants, R E Stats Inc. (operating as ReDatum) and two individuals alleged to direct its business operations, provide services to parties involved in the real estate industry.
TRREB claimed that the defendants obtained unauthorized and illegal access to the TRREB MLS® System and its proprietary contents by circumventing its technological protection measures, and downloaded, copied and retransmitted its contents. In January 2021, the Court dismissed TRREB’s motion seeking an interlocutory injunction against the defendants on the basis that TRREB, on the balance of convenience, failed to establish it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction were not granted (2021 FC 30).
Subsequently, TRREB brought a second motion for default judgement against the defendants in the amount of $250,000. The defendants did not file a statement of defence. The Court found that TRREB has established copyright and ownership in the TRREB MLS® System and ordered a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from conducting certain infringing activities, including data scraping from the TRREB MLS® System. However, the Court limited the damages award to $50,000 as TRREB had failed to establish a basis for the damages claimed.
Summary By: Anna Troshchynsky
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