A Canadian judge has ruled that the thumbs up emoji can be recognized as a valid means of 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.”

Emojis are used daily in instant message communication, whether through social networks, instant messaging applications or SMS. In this sense, these symbols, which imitate everyday gestures such as smiling faces or handshakes, they are becoming part of the common language of users.

In this framework, a Canadian judge has ruled in a recent case that sending a message with the thumbs up emoji can be interpreted as a valid means of formally sealing a contract.

The thumbs up is a gesture commonly used to express approval, agreement, or satisfaction with something or someone.

In fact, this same judge has indicated that, although it is a novel method, it is a ‘valid’ way of conveying the purposes of a firmsince 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 summary documents of the trial to which this case refers, in which a farmer and a flax buyer faced each other over a breached contract, and which ended up ruling in favor of the buyer, who will have to receive 82,000 Canadian dollars (about US$61,661) from the farmer.

(Keep reading: Would you use them? These are the new emojis that arrived on WhatsApp in 2023).

Specifically, the case took place in a King’s Bench Court, in the province of Saskatchewan (Canada) where, according to what was stated, A farmer responded with the thumbs up emoji to a message sending a purchase contract for flax. The buyer thought this was a contract validation message, but the farmer differs: “I simply wanted to indicate that I received your text message,” he has alleged.

As reported, the buyer sent the purchase contract 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, he understood that the complete contract would be sent to him later by email. Therefore, he sent the emoji with the intention of implying that he “had received the message”, but denies “that he accepted the thumbs-up emoji as a digital signature of the incomplete contract.”

(You may be interested in: XD, the meaning and history behind this ’emoji’).

However, the case, placed in the hands of Canadian judge Timothy Keene, has been settled in favor of the buyer, since the thumb emoji has been recognized as a means to seal a contract, as it is a commonly used symbol implying acceptance.

“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 form to transmit the two purposes of a signature and to transmit the acceptance of the linen contract”, points out the judge.

Thus, regarding its validity as a signature, Keene qualified that the signatory can be identified using their unique telephone number as a record.

(Also read: Why do we like emojis so much?).

In this regard, the farmer’s lawyer stated that by accepting this thumb emoji as a form of “identity and acceptance” they are “opening the doors” to allow more cases to be presented that request interpretations of what the different emojis mean.

“The courts will be inundated with all kinds of cases if this court determines that the thumbs up emoji can take the place of a signature,” the farmer’s lawyer stressed.

To which Judge Keene qualified that this appears to be “the new reality in Canadian society” and that, therefore, the courts “will have to be ready to face the new challenges that may arise from the use of emojis and the like.”


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Original Publisher: https://www.eltiempo.com/cultura/gente/un-juez-reconocio-al-emoji-pulgar-arriba-como-metodo-valido-para-cerrar-un-contrato-786724