The Madras High Court Bench on Thursday upheld a single judge order that Google India Private Ltd not deprive Chennai-based Consim Info Pvt Ltd benefit of their trademark policy and protect their trademarks, including Bharat Matrimony, Tamil Matrimony and Telugu Matrimony.

Dismissing an appeal by Consim against Google India Pvt Ltd and four other firms, the court said it was sufficient to direct Google India Pvt Ltd to adhere to its present business policy as stated by its counsel, that the appellants registered trademarks would be protected by ensuring that others did not use them in their “ad words“.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices P. Jyothimani and M. Duraiswamy said “...the appellant has established their case with regard to prima facie case and balance of convenience. As such they are entitled for injunction....”

Other issues have to be decided only during the course of the trial, the court said.

“The present arrangement based on the undertaking given by respondents, which is in force for nearly three years, should not be disturbed or deviated at this stage. We are not inclined to unsettle the settled arrangement till disposal of the suit,” the judges said.

The Bench requested the single judge to dispose of the suit, preferably before 2013-end as per merits and law, “without being influenced by observations made in this judgment.”

It said the respondents could have used other words as key words on sponsored links. Their action would create confusion among the public. Though the single judge had given the benefit of doubt to Google on choice of words “Tamil”, “Matrimony”, the choice may not be deliberate. But combination of two words with a space in between has happened only deliberately.

Google said their relationship with those advertising products and services is governed by Advertising Program terms, Advertising policy and editorial Guidelines and Adwords and Adsense Trademark Policy.

In Program Terms, advertisers are solely responsible for ad targeting options and keywords and all ad content, ad information and ad URLs, it said.

The Bench said Google appears to have taken steps to protect possible infringement of trademarks by advertisers.

“It is pertinent to note that Google is adopting different policies in different regions. The rationale behind difference in policy has not been explained by Google.” Consim Info Pvt Ltd, which runs a number of matrimonial web portals like ‘Bharatmatrimony.com’ and ‘Tamilmatrimony.com’ — had filed a suit against Google India Pvt Ltd and four other firms, which also own matrimonial web portals, alleging infringement of its registered trademarks.

(This article was published on September 14, 2012)
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