(Yicai Global) June 28 -- A Beijing court ruled that Sogou has indulged in unfair competition by hijacking search engine traffic through an input app and ordered the Nasdaq-listed firm to pay CNY30 million (USD4.35 million) in compensation to four rivals, according to a statement posted on the court's website today.
The Beijing-based internet firm provides a service called 'search candidate' in its Sogou mobile input app for Android phones, which was introduced in December 2015, the court in Beijing's Haidian district said in the statement. If users select 'search candidate' when searching with Sogou's browser and search engine, they are redirected to Sougou Search website.
Four companies -- Baidu, Qihoo, Shen Ma and Dongjing -- claimed in their lawsuit that Sogou's action constituted unfair competition and demanded more than CNY100 million a piece in compensation. The court ordered that Baidu and Qihoo should receive CNY5 million each, while Dongjing and Shen Ma will get CNY20 million each.
Sogou intentionally confuses users, redirecting them via 'search candidate' to Sogou Search's results page, which is not clearly identified, hijacking user traffic belonging to the plaintiffs, the court ruled. It added that Sogou obstructed the other four companies' normal business operations using technical means and impacted user choice, which constitutes unfair competition.