Unitalen brought lawsuit against Google for unfair competition due to incorrect keyword search result

November 20, 2008
When Unitalen is searched in google, it directed to another competitor. Unitalen brought Google and 北京广立信国际知识产权代理有限公司(Beijing Highsee International Intellectual Property Co., Ltd.) into lawsuit for unfair competition. The case was concluded in Beijing Dongcheng District People’s Court.

Unitalen Attorneys at Law is a provider of legal service ranging from patent and trademark, copyrights to other intellectual property rights with over 20 subsidiaries and offices all over the country. Unitalen has been ranked as the largest legal service provider in relation to intellectual property in China and has enjoyed high reputation and goodwill. The defendant, 北京广立信国际知识产权代理有限公司(Beijing Highsee International Intellectual Property Co., Ltd) is engaged in similar services, namely, trademark agency services. It has come to Unitalen’s attention that when the Chinese counterpart of Unitalen Attoneys at Law is input in Google, it creates a direction to the defendant’s website, which uses the same color, layout and font style as Unitalen’s homepage. The defendant’s website was even using the same slogans to which Unitalen enjoys copyright. The defendant’s activity constituted unfair competition. Unitalen initiated legal action seeking cease of unfair competition and a public apology on China Industry and Commerce News and China Intellectual Property News together with damages and costs RMB 100,000 (approximate $14,700).

In the course of court hearing, Unitalen withdrew its claims against Google.

On October 23, 2008, the court made the first-instance decision, ordering the defendant to cease any unfair competition in its keyword ad in Google, and revise the content on its website that is identical with the plaintiff’s. The defendant shall make statement on China Intellectual Property News to eliminate negative effects caused within 30 days as of the effective date of the judgment. The defendant is also ruled to pay Unitalen RMB 100,000 in damages and reasonable expenditures within 30 days from date when the judgment takes effect.