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Consim Info CEO Murugavel Janakiraman On The Case Against Google, Shaadi, Jeevansathi & SimplyMarry

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In a brief conversation with MediaNama, Murugavel Janakiraman, Founder & CEO of the Consim Info (BharatMatrimony) explained the rationale behind the case they have filed against Google, and competitors Shaadi, Jeevansathi and SimplyMarry, seeking to prevent competitive advertising. He also confirmed that the Madras High Court has granted an interim injunction.

Janakiraman highlighted two things that the company is trying to achieve: “15 of our brands are trademarked, and yet competitive advertising is allowed around it. If you search for Nike or Microsoft on Google, there is no competitive advertising. People searching for our trademarks know what they are searching for, and Google is the entry point for our sites. It’s not that a search for “Indian Bride” or a generic keyword, but a search for a branded and trademarked keyword.”

“Secondly, when someone for ‘Tamil Bride’, which is a generic keyword, competitors use our trademarks as headings in AdWords, even though they link to their websites. We are asking Google to stop allowing competition from using our trademarked keywords as headings,” he said.

Janakiraman declined to comment – saying that we’re digging too deep – on whether the company is planning to trademark names of 250 odd domains which they announced recently under the name CommunityMatrimony.com, including several India centric keywords like like AgarwalMatrimony, BrahminMatrimony, KayasthaMatrimony etc.

In response to our question regarding Consim Info itself advertising on competitive keywords (screenshots here), Janakiraman said that “Google should stop everybody, including us.”


Your Take?

Where do you stand on this issue? Please feel free to leave your reasoned comment on this issue. Do note that any potentially slanderous comments against any individual or a company will be removed. We’d prefer a healthy discussion

Related: Consim Info Sues Google, Jeevansathi, Shaadi, SimplyMarry; Implications For Competitive Ads

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  • Vishambhar

    The problem lies more with the people who awarded these trademarks to Consim than with Google. How is Hindi Matrimony (or for that matter any of the other generic terms) a trademark? Quite ridiculous.

    • Indian

      Need explanation! 'Visha' & 'Mbhar' can be a generic term, but Vishambhar is a trademark. Hindi & Matrimony are generic keywords, the concatenation of these two strings is not a generic keyword, in such a way it becomes as a trademark. Have you understood?

      • Redindian

        Not a convincing argument!

        Idea of TM is to protect the IP of a brand that people already know and associate with ( or likely to in future) – TMing 15 words for one company in one line of business is itself questionable!

        What gives the right for one particular company to call two very generic words as trademark just because they are concatenated – especially since in Text Ads – there is no styling/font design – meaning others can't trick by using a similar looking Font ( the way our local record players use to pass of Takai as Akai 20 years back ;) )

        • Indian

          This is an issue deals with the keyword 'Bharatmatrimony' & not with the keyword 'BharatHmatrimony'.

  • Raman

    Dont tell me, BM did not bid for competitor word in google in their entire career? What are the rationale behind his talks as "industry", why did not the industry try to talk and resolve rather than filing cases against each other?

    Hope this brings to light the true colours of things.

    This is going to be fun and all those things.

  • aravind

    in my opinion commonly used words cannot be trade marked. Matrimony, Tamil etc are common words..having said that the online industry needs such news to keep things alive..

    • Indian

      Why Google is not displaying any competitive ads on terms like ‘Naukri’, ‘Techcrunch’, ‘Twitter’ or even ‘Bing’? 'Naukri' is also a common term. What is the deal behind this!!!

  • Mohit Bhakuni

    Four years ago in a similar trademark infringement case between Google and Louis Vuitton, a court in Paris passed a judgment against Google – slapping a quarter million dollar fine and stopping it from displaying competitors' ads on searches on LV trademarks. However, Google approached European Court of Justice and has just received a favorable opinion that its practice of allowing the use of others' trademarks as keywords is not infringement. It is important to note this comment by the court:

    "In effect, the mere display of relevant sites in response to keywords is not enough to establish a risk of confusion on the part of consumers as to the origin of goods or services."

    Entire story is available here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/sep/22/googl

    However, it becomes interesting when we talk in the context of companies selling fake products (not applicable in this BM case). Platforms like Google and eBay inadvertently provide a platform to the companies selling counterfeit products. It is like walking to a shopping mall and seeing two Nike showrooms next to each other, one selling original Nike and second fake at ten times lesser price. No doubt Nike will be upset, question is should Nike go after the mall owner or after the one selling fakes. I guess it should be both of them.

    Competition is good for the end consumer. Ad Words shouldn't be discouraged from encouraging competition. Rather than filing lawsuits, companies should invest in innovation and offering better services and products. However, allowing a market place where counterfeit products can be sold is bad for trademark owners, which should be stopped.

  • netdude

    Its actually an invention of the “super intelligent” Google sales team.[sarcasm intended]. All the above companies are key accounts to google and its the Google’s support team that does the tweaking of keywords at the backend. The objective is to increase the no of clicks and rake in cash.

    Its time that the google india sales team stop spoiling their own brand equity to achieve quarterly bonuses.

    Good work Muruga

  • Rupa

    A word Matrimonial cannot be reserved for any company…

    • Indian

      do u know what is happening here?

  • rupa

    I have website named http://www.apnasangam.com which is competitor for BharatMatrimony … does it mean that they can reserve the keywords & restrict google to display my site.. Not acceptable