Browser Hijacked Service Traffic
Suspicious of Sogou mobile browser’s hijacking Baidu service traffic, Beijing Baidu Netcom Science and Technology Co., Ltd. and Baidu Online Network Technology Co., Ltd. have taken Sogou Inc. to court for unfair competition, seeking over 1 million Yuan in damages. The case went on trial in The People’s Court of Beijing Haidian Division yesterday
Baidu Sues Sogou, Seeking 1 Million Dollars in Damages
Baidu appealed that, both being IT service companies on the Internet, Beijing Sogou Information Service Co., Ltd and Beijing Sogou Technology Developing Service Co., Ltd competed with Baidu unfairly on the ‘Sougo Mobile Browser’ that they co-managed. Baidu also pointed out that when users started ‘Sogou Mobile Browser ‘ and set Baidu as the search engine and input keywords,users got access to information services provided by sogou.com, after which then related keywords that pointed to sogou.com would be featured prominently in the drop-down box, leading to profits through paid promotion information and advertising on websites.
Baidu found that Sogou’s behavior went against the principle of fairness and good faith. In essence Sogou forced search service traffic that had belonged to Baidu.com to sogou.com, which was typical traffic hijacking behavior. It not only disturbed the regular usage of baidu.com for online users, reduced the page views of search result pages generated by Baidu, and grabbed trading opportunities belonging to Baidu.com, but also misled users to assume that the information service was offered by baidu.com or there existed some relationship between the two. Then the service resource would be confused. Therefore, Baidu sued to stop Sogou’s behavior at once, urging them to issue public statements on prominent places on Sogou’s official website, Legal Daily etc. to remove negative effects, and claimed for damages and reasonable expenses of 1 million Yuan.
Sogou Denied the Unfair Competition
Sogou responded that, ‘technology interference’, ’traffic hijacking’, ’confusion or misidentification’ which were charged with by Baiduall didn’t exist. Further explanation showed that, when users started ‘Sogou Mobile Browser’,set Baidu as the search engine and input keywords in ‘address bar-search box’ on the top of pages,Sogou’s browsing advice, which appeared in full screen mode, was Sogou’s browser behavior. As search behavior hadn’t begun, no search service was included, meaning there was no evidence of technology interference.
Second, regarding traffic hijacking, for Baidu the traffic brought by Sogou browser was new traffic. So there wasn’t any malicious function pointing to Baidu in Sogou browser software. That is to say whether we set ‘Sogou’, ’Google’ or ‘Baidu’ as the default search engine and input the same keywords, both the content and order of browsing suggestions are the same.Moreover, if users click keywords, searching recommendations in browsing suggestions or browsing baidu.com by Sogou’s Mobile Browser, they can normally view Baidu.com. Therefore, there is no sound and legal evidence for Baidu to complain of ‘traffic hijacking’.
Both of Two Sides Had Evidences and Agreed to Conciliation in the End
Lastly, about confusion and misidentification, Sogou said different icons were displayed in groups in browsing suggestions offered by Sogou mobile browser. Buttons of ‘watch’, ‘read’, ‘download’, ‘view’ were displayed in inverse color, and the words of ‘…sniffed by Sogou’ were marked on bottom of vertical content. All of these indicated and reminded that search results never originated from Baidu, and confusion had be avoided as much as possible.
In the trial yesterday, both of the two sides submitted relevant evidence. Sogou also invited specialists in the National Academy of Sciences to testify. By asking questions and exchanging ideas, Baidu questioned the professional qualifications of such specialists, claiming they knew little about android software, mainstream browsers and software involved in the case.However, Baidu and Sogou agreed to settle in the end.