Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) has won a legal battle against its arch-rival Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (NYSE:QIHU). The Beijing No 1 Intermediate People’s Court ruled Thursday that has been involved in unfair competition. The court has ordered the Chinese Internet security company to pay CNY 700,000 ($112,903) to Baidu for breaking the online search industry ruled.
Baidu had initially sought CNY 100 million in damages
Baidu had sued Qihoo 360 for taking content from its website and online discussion groups. The world’s second largest search engine company had demanded CNY 100 million in compensation. The court found that Qihoo used Baidu’s content without permission through its 360 Browser and search engine in 2012. That’s against the fair competition protocol Robots.txt.
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The widely recognized protocol stipulates that a search engine cannot take information that another website doesn’t want to be used. Qihoo 360 disobeyed this protocol by copying and picking information from its website. Notably, Qihoo entered the Chinese search engine market in 2012 and has been growing rapidly, posing a threat to Baidu’s dominance. The two companies are involved in several conflicts as they fight for the Chinese search market share.
Baidu using the protocol to put pressure on Qihoo
Qihoo claimed it did not violate Baidu’s intellectual property as the content was provided by Internet users. Moreover, it’s excluded from Baidu’s list that lets websites obtain information. It has also prohibited Qihoo from taking information from its other platforms such as Baidu Baike and Baidu Zhidao, claimed Qihoo.
Internet security expert Fang Xingdong told China Daily that China’s largest search engine company has banned only Qihoo 360 from obtaining information on its website. That a discrimination. Baidu is using the protocol as a way to put pressure on its rival. However, Baidu’s lawyer Yu Guofu was happy with the verdict. Guofu said abiding by the protocol is more important than the ‘debate’ between the two companies.
Qihoo shares fell 1.16% to $92.30 in pre-market trading Friday.