BharatMatrimony or Google, Who is Wrong?

Date:   Wednesday , December 02, 2009

Was it a part of BharatMatrimony’s strategy to gain publicity or protect its trademark? Consim Info, which owns matrimony portal, had sued Google and three other matrimonial sites for the trademark infringement last month.

According to Janakiraman, there are two reasons why he sued Google and competitors, and “Firstly, we filed the case seeking prevention of competitive advertising on Google. People searching for our trademarks know what they are searching for, and Google is the entry point for our sites, so the users should not be shown ads of other similar websites. Secondly, we have asked Google to stop allowing our competitors using our trademarked keywords as headings,” says Janakiraman.

When we searched on Google, we found that the practice of showing competitors’ ads on Google is not happening only in the online matrimony space but in other verticals also. For instance, a search for Adidas, Puma or Reebok on Google shows advertisements from Nike, while a search for LIC shows ads from Max New York Life and Aegon Religare.

Mahesh Murthy, Founder and CEO, Pinstorm a digital marketing firm says, “As claimed by Consim, ‘TamilMatrimony’ (without a space) is a registered keyword of the group. It appears that the group owns a combination of two generic words Tamil and Matrimony. Now, the competitors are using Tamil Matrimony as two separate generic keywords in their ad copies and so BharatMatrimony can’t claim that these two separate generic terms are their registered keywords.”

If they are doing so, they can also be held guilty for similar practice, because their ads are also shown on their competitor’s page. Anupam Mittal, Chief Managing Director, says, “We were surprised to be named in the lawsuit, especially since the Consim Group has been actively following a practice of bidding on searches. They should have included themselves in the list of companies they thought were in violation of their proposed guidelines.”

Though the Madras High Court gave an interim injunction, Murthy feels that this is a wrong judgment and the decision should be challenged or else Jet Airways will tomorrow say that ‘Airways’ is their registered keyword and they want other airlines to stop advertising around that keyword.