Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kraft Redux

Richard Gold has an excellent op-ed in today's Globe and Mail, unfortunately buried behind a pay wall.

Kraft is suing Euro Excellence - again. Here's part of what Richard said:

Kraft is trying to get around the Supreme Court's decision through a technical legal change in the relationship between Kraft's parent company in Europe and itself. The only reason for this change - from an exclusive licence to an outright sale of the Canadian rights in the logo - was to sue Euro-Excellence. What is particularly offensive is that the Federal Court of Appeal indicated only a few years ago that this sort of manoeuvre could well violate Canada's competition laws. When the only reason behind the transfer of copyright is to prevent
competition from other importers, the transfer is suspect.

Nonetheless, Kraft did exactly this.

While Euro-Excellence could fight the case and, given the law, win, it is unfair to make this company pay all the expenses of a second long court battle to protect Canadian consumers. And make no mistake: It is Canadian consumers who lose when international companies such as Kraft prevent the importation of perfectly legitimate, fully paid products available on the international market. Free trade was designed to bring more competition and better value to consumers. Kraft's action seeks to prevent this.

(emphasis added)
Needless to say, I agree. I successfully made very similar arguments earlier this year in Kraft #1 at the Supreme Court. Kraft, apparently, is determined to attempt to use the Copyright Act to subvert free trade with a result that would resound throughout the Canadian economy and affect countless products to which the act was never meant to apply. Seven out of nine justices clearly had no sympathy for Kraft's position. But Kraft is oblivious.

When a company is as big and rich as Kraft, it seems that it can follow the old maxim: "if at first you don't succeed, try try again."

Let's see what the Courts have to say about this the second time around.


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