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SC notice to Google, others restrains rivals from displaying infringing ads

Nov 16 2012, 02:12 IST
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SummaryIn a relief to Chennai-based Consim Info, which runs Bharat Matrimony, the Supreme Court has restrained its rivals from displaying infringing ads on its marriage portal under Google’s Adwords program.

In a relief to Chennai-based Consim Info, which runs Bharat Matrimony, the Supreme Court has restrained its rivals from displaying infringing ads on its marriage portal under Google’s Adwords program.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir while issuing notices to People Interactive (Shaadi.com), Times Business Solutions (SimplyMarry), and Info Edge (JeevanSathi) also restrained the competitors from displaying advertisements with keywords that infringed Consim’s trademark in Google’s AdWords program.

The effect is that text ads of rival matrimony sites would not be displayed if a user enters the search keywords bharat matrimony or tamil matrimony, in addition to bharatmatrimony.

Challenging the Madras High Court judgment that refused to restrain Google and the three sites from displaying such pop-ups whenever ‘BharatMatrimony’ was keyed in during Google search, Consim senior counsel A Sundaram and counsel KV Mohan submitted that by permitting the competitors to display their websites, Google was infringing the trademark rights of the company and capitalising on its goodwill and reputation. Consim argued that competing websites were buying up keywords on Google’s Adwords program so that their site showed up when people search for Bharat matrimony.

Google in its cross-appeal said that ‘Bharat’ and ‘matrimony’ were two independent words and Bharatmatrimony could not claim any trademark right. The search engine giant has cited various examples that whenever such common words were used in Google, similar related sites also would be displayed.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Google, said the names of Shaadi.com, People Interactive, Jeevansathi Internet Services and Times Business Solutions would be removed from the program.

Google said its relationship with those advertising products and services is governed by Advertising Program Terms, Advertising Policy and Editorial Guidelines and Adwords and Adsense Trademark Policy. In Program Terms, advertisers are solely responsible for ad targeting options and keywords and all ad content, ad information and ad URLs, it said.

In 2009, the firm had moved the Madras HC against Google for displaying their competitors’ ads on Google’s search result page.

The HC while dismissing Consim India’s appeal against Google India and four other firms had upheld its single judge order that Google India did not deprive Consim Info the benefit of their trademark policy and protected their trademarks, including Bharat Matrimony. The HC also said Google appeared to have taken steps to protect possible infringement of trademarks by advertisers. However, it noted that that Google was adopting different policies in different regions, and had not explained the

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