Unitalen Represented Sogou and Won Unfair Competition Suit against Baidu

March 17, 2018

On behalf of client Sogou, Unitalen brought a civil action against Baidu on the ground of unfair competition. Beijing Higher People's Court made the second instance judgement that the software bundling conducted by Baidu in the name of "high-speed downloading" causing users to download additional “Baidu anti-virus”, “Baidu browser”, “Baidu mobile assistants” and other software, unexpectedly, without knowledge or sufficient judgement, while they were downloading Sogou software, has constituted unfair competition. The final judgement maintained the first instance judgement made by Beijing Intellectual Property Court, according to which Baidu is ordered to stop unfair competition acts, compensate Sogou’s economic loss of 500,000 yuan and reasonable expenses of 42,252 yuan, and make public statements on the Baidu website to eliminate the impact.


With regard to the nature of the alleged unfair competition conduct in this case, Beijing Higher Court believe it has constituted "software bundling act" as stipulated in Article 9 of the "Several Provisions on Regulating the Market Order of Internet Information Services". The key of this determination is the fact that Baidu did not prompt the users in an obvious manner in order for users to choose at their discretion whether to install or use Baidu software. The court also held that Baidu did not provide any evidence to prove that “Baidu Mobile Assistant” had the function of speeding up the downloading but cheated and misled users downloading and installing Sogou software to download the irrelevant Baidu software in the name of "highspeed download”. Such act is deceptive, misleading, and violating the ethics recognized by the Internet industry. Baidu Company's defense that the alleged act is a usual practice in the industry failed to obtain the court support.


Beijing Higher Court pointed out, in particular, that the alleged acts:

  1. 1) directly affected user's right to decide on the installation and use of Internet software,
  2. 2) improperly took advantage of user's appreciation and demand for Sogou software to increase its trading opportunities and competitive advantages, which is essentially an illegal act of utilizing the commercial achievements of others for its own business opportunities and competitive advantages, and
  3. 3) damaged the goodwill and competitive interests of Sogou Software.