According to Techweb, Chinese security, mobile, and search company Qihoo 360 was dealt the latest in a long line of legal blows yesterday when a Beijing court ruled in favor of Chinese search company Sogou in an unfair competition lawsuit. Qihoo has been ordered to pay RMB 51 million (about US$8.2 million) in damages.
Sogou filed the suit against Qihoo back in 2013 because the latter company’s Qihoo Defender security software blocked users from easily installing a web browser created by the former, and prevented users who did install it from making it their default browser. (Qihoo 360’s product suite includes its own web browser). The court found that this behavior constituted unfair competition, and ruled accordingly. In the decision, the court emphasized that internet companies with products in multiple spheres of the industry are obliged to preserve some degree of independent operation, and not use their dominance in one internet sector to strong-arm users into adopting their products in other sectors.
Qihoo can choose to appeal the decision to a higher court if it chooses to, but history suggests the company might be better off cutting its losses. Over the past several years, the company has managed to rack up an impressive string of defeats in legal disputes, and appeals haven’t seemed to help much. For example, Qihoo’s suit against Tencent in connection with the 3Q war was rejected by local courts but Qihoo appealed it all the way to China’s Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then held up that rejection last October.
Qihoo also has another case pending on similar charges of unfair competition.