After 3 years of legal battle, the dispute between Google and marriage portal Bharatmatrimony.com seems to be on its last leg. On Friday, the Supreme Court restrained Shaadi.com and two other competing websites from breaching trademarks owned by Consim Info Private Limted, the company which runs Bharatmatrimony.com and other matrimony websites.
A three member bench found merit the company’s case that competing websites were buying up keywords on Google’s adwords program so that their site shows up when people search for Bharatmatrimony. Earlier, Madras High Court had refused to curb Google and the three sites from displaying such pop-ups when someone Googled for BharatMatrimony.
Till recently, if you searched for Bharatmatrimony (and other trademarked keywords), you would have found Shaadi.com, Simplymarry and Jeevansaathi displaying their ads by leveraging Google’s AdWords program. While Google does competitive ad filtering, there are several permutations and combinations that enables advertisers to play with the system.
Google had argued that ‘Bharat’ and ‘matrimony’ were two independent words and Bharatmatrimony could not claim any trademark right. The search giant has cited various examples that whenever such common words were used in Google, similar related sites also would be displayed.
On the other hand, Bharatmatrimony submitted a petition and mentioned that by allowing the competitors to pop-up their websites, Google had been infringing the trademark rights of the company and capitalizing on Bharatmatrimony’s goodwill and reputation.
Consim Info, which owns the trademark for Bharatmatrimony, www.tamilmatrimony.com, www.telegumatrimony, www.bharatrimony.com, www.bengalimatrimony.com and Muslimmarry.com had sued Google India for allowing ads on these trademarked keywords in 2009. Also, in February, Bharatmatrimony had moved to Competition Commission of India, citing discriminatory trade practices related to its AdWords program.