MONTREAL - Clarification: The judgement that was rendered ordering Pierre Barnoti and others to cease using and operating the domain names and reflected a settlement reached by the parties out of court.

The Canadian Society for the Protection of Animals has won a legal battle for the rights to the domain names and

The case pitted the Canadian SPCA against former Montreal SPCA executive director Pierre Barnoti, SPCA International Inc., and several other parties.

The websites in question were being used to collect donations for SPCA International, and appeared to be funnelling money to legitimate Canadian charities, but the Canadian SPCA said it has never received any money from the website's owners. The SPCA launched legal action when it determined that Barnoti was holding the rights to the domain names for sites launched by the Montreal SPCA in 1994.

Barrnoti, who led the charity animal rights group for 13 years until he was fired in 2008, allegedly transferred ownership of the domain name in 2006.

Barnoti is the President of SPCA International.

Donations for SPCA International were solicited through the site which did not clearly specify that it was not connected to the existing Montreal SPCA.

In court, Barnoti claimed that the former board of directors at the Montreal SPCA had properly granted him the rights to the domain names.

Barnoti's lawyer, Julius Grey, who defended Barnoti's right to maintain, said his client legally registered the website.

Both sides agreed to settle the matter for now, said Grey, adding that the agreement is not an admission of guilt.

"There's no conclusion to be drawn since both of them have reserved their rights to maintain all arguments," he said.

In the judgment rendered on Nov. 19 , Judge Louis Crete ruled that the Canadian SPCA was the sole legitimate owner of the domain names.

"We retain full control of the domain name and we did reserve our rights to claim damages," said SPCA treasurer Pierre Lessard.

In addition, Judge Crete ordered Barnoti, SPCA International and a number of other related parties to immediately cease using the domain names and to take steps to register the Canadian SPCA as the legitimate owners, notwithstanding any possible appeal of the decision.

The interlocutory injunction does not end the tug of war between the SPCA and its former director general. There are still several pending lawsuits between the two. Barnoti is suing the SPCA for wrongful dismissal, and the SPCA is counter-suing Barnoti to recoup whatever money may have been collected through the website.

Pierre Barnoti is suing CTV Montreal for defamation relating to investigative reports that raised questions about his former management at the SPCA. That case has not been resolved.