Online travel firm MakeMyTrip has sued rival EaseMyTrip in the Delhi high court for trademark infringement through its use of Google ad-words, the Times of India reported. MakeMyTrip claimed the company unfairly bid for the ‘makemytrip’ ad-word to come out on top of Google search results. This, it said, forced MakeMyTrip to spend more to ensure than it remained the top result for a Google search of its own name. It has made the search giant a party to the case. The next hearing is on May 8. MediaNama has reached out to MakeMyTrip for a comment and will update when we hear from them. “Competitive bidding on a brand’s word-mark raises the cost per click on Google by up to three-to-four times,” an industry executive told the Times of India. 

MakeMyTrip reported $93.6 million in promotional expenses in Q3FY19, significantly higher than the $24.3 million it spent on promotions over the same period in the previous fiscal.

Cease-and-desist letter goes unheeded

MakeMyTrip had sent a cease-and-desist notice to EaseMyTrip last September but the company did not respond and continued to use the ‘makemytrip’ ad-word, Business Today reported. Earlier this month, MakeMyTrip brought up the matter during a meeting with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Trade (DPIIT).

Precedent: Bytedance ordered to stop using ‘ShareChat’ ad-word

This is not the first trademark dispute in India involving Google’s advertising platform. In November last year, the Delhi high court ordered China’s Bytedance to stop using ‘ShareChat’ as an ad-word on Google after the Indian firm filed a complaint, according to an ET report.

Last February the Competition Commission of India fined the search giant Rs 136 crore for manipulating its algorithm to suppress the competition and unfairly promote its own services such as Google News, YouTube and Google Maps in its search results, Bloomberg reported. The case was filed in 2012 by Bharat Matrimony (now matrimony.com) and the Consumer Unity & Trust Society.