July 7 (Portaltic/EP) –
A canadian judge has ruled that the thumbs up emoji can be recognized as a valid means to seal a contractequivalent to a signature, as this is a common method of communication and courts should not “try to stem the wave of technology and common usage.”
The ’emojis’ are used daily instant message communication either through social networks, instant messaging applications or SMS. In this sense, these symbols that imitate everyday gestures such as smiling faces or handshakes are becoming become part of the common language of users.
Within this framework, a Canadian judge has ruled in a recent case than sending a message with the thumbs up ’emoji’ can be construed as a valid means of sealing a contract formally.
In fact, this same judge has indicated that, although it is a novel method, it is a way “valid” way of conveying the purposes of a signature, since it is a common method of communication and the courts “cannot and should not try to stop the wave of technology.”
This has been reflected in the trial summary documents to which this case refers, in which a farmer and a flax buyer faced each other for breached contractand that has ended up ruling in favor of the buyer, who will have to receive 82,000 Canadian dollars (around 5,642 euros) from the farmer.
Specifically, the case took place in a King’s Bench Court, in the province of Saskatchewan (Canada) where, according to what was exposed, a farmer responded with the ’emoji’ of the thumbs up to a message in which a flax purchase contract was sent. He buyer thought this was a contract validation messagebut the farmer differs: “I simply wanted to indicate that I received your text message,” he claimed.
As reported, the buyer sent the contract for said purchase by message, followed by the text “confirm the linen contract”. After that, the farmer responded with the ’emoji’, and there was no further interaction between the two. In fact, the agreed linen was not delivered.
The farmer claimed that the buyer had not sent you the full terms and conditions of the contract and, in this sense, understood that the full contract will be I will send later by email. Therefore he sent the ’emoji’ with the intention of implying that “he had received the message” but denies “that you have accepted the thumbs up emoji as the digital signature of the incomplete contract”.
However, the case, placed in the hands of the Canadian Judge Timothy KeeneIt has been settled in favor of the buyersince the ’emoji’ of the thumb has been recognized as a means to seal a contract, as it is a symbol that implies acceptance and is commonly used.
“This court readily recognizes that an ’emoji’ is a non-traditional means of signing a document, but nevertheless, in these circumstances, this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a signature and to convey acceptance of the linen contract”, points out the judge.
Thus, regarding its validity as a signature, Keene qualified that the signer can be identified using your unique phone number as a record.
In this regard, the farmer’s lawyer stated that, by accepting this ’emoji’ of the thumb as a form of “identity and acceptance“ The doors are being “opened” to allow more cases to be presented that request interpretations about what the different ’emojis’ mean.
“The courts will be flooded with all kinds of cases if this court determines that the ’emoji’ of the thumbs up can take the place of a signature,” stressed the farmer’s lawyer. To which Judge Keene qualified that this seems to be “the new reality in Canadian society” and that, therefore, courts “will have to be ready to face the new challenges that may arise from the use of emojis and the like”.