Supreme Court of Canada grants leave to appeal regarding indirect purchaser issues

December 1, 2011

On December 1, 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal in the British Columbia Court of Appeal decisions Pro-Sys Consultants Ltd. v. Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) (2011 BCCA 186) and Sun-Rype Products Ltd. v. Archer Daniels Midland Company (Sun-Rype) (2011 BCCA 187). Microsoft and Sun-Rype were two to one majority decisions concluding for the first time in Canada that indirect purchasers of allegedly price-fixed products have no cause of action recognized in law. (see our earlier post titled: Court of Appeal for British Columbia bars indirect purchaser suits.)

Earlier this month the Québec Court of Appeal in Option Consommateurs v. Infineon Technologies AG (2011 QCCA 2116), unanimously overturning a Superior Court decision that had denied a motion to authorize class action proceedings, allowed indirect plaintiffs to proceed with their price-fixing suit, expressly disagreeing with the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s rulings in Microsoft and Sun-Rype that such plaintiffs have no claim in law. (see our earlier post titled:Québec Court of Appeal authorizes price-fixing class action involving indirect purchasers.)

These appeals will mark the first time the highest court in Canada will consider this issue in the context of competition class actions.

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