One man’s thumbs-up emoji is another’s sign-on-the-dotted-line, according to a judge in Saskatchewan, Canada, who ruled that an emoji can amount to a contractual agreement.
A buyer with grain distributor South West Terminal texted farmers in March 2021 saying the company was looking to buy 86 tonnes of flax at $17 a bushel for delivery in the fall, according to CBC News.
The buyer, Kent Mickleborough, later spoke to Swift Current farmer Chris Achter on the phone and texted a picture of a contract to deliver the flax in November, adding “confirm flax contract.” Mr. Achter sent back a thumbs up emoji. But when November came, the flax was not delivered and the prices of the crop had increased, according to the news report.
Ruling in favor of the buyer, the judge ordered the farmer to pay more than $82,000 for failing to deliver the product to a grain buyer after responding to a text message with a thumbs-up image, according to the news report.
“This court readily recognizes that a (thumbs up) emoji is a non-traditional way to ̵6;sign’ a document, but under the circumstances, this was a valid way to convey the two purposes of a ‘signature,'” the judge wrote.