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HC rejects matrimonial website’s petition: Justice N. Sathish Kumar rejected the plea on the ground that terms denoting particular regions in the country as well as the words ‘matrimony’ and ‘matrimonial’ were generic in nature.
[12/24, 16:50] Sekarreporter 1: HC rejects matrimonial website’s petition: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-rejects-matrimonial-websites-petition/article30369641.ece [12/24, 16:50] Sekarreporter 1: ‘Company must have made Google a respondent to civil suits filed by it’ The Madras High Court has dismissed applications filed by Matrimony.com Limited to restrain a host of other companies from using the terms Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Kerala, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Christian and Sindhi along with the terms matrimony or matrimonial as keywords for search engine optimisation. Justice N. Sathish Kumar rejected the plea on the ground that terms denoting particular regions in the country as well as the words ‘matrimony’ and ‘matrimonial’ were generic in nature. [12/24, 16:50] Sekarreporter 1: Therefore, the applicant was not entitled for an interim injunction, though it had registered trademarks such as tamilmatrimony.com and telugumatrimony.com The judge said: “Admittedly, the words ‘Tamil’, ‘Kannada’, ‘Kerala’ and ‘Telugu’ are generic terms. Similarly, the word ‘matrimony’ is also a dictionary word and it is competent word for looking for alliances for marriage…. Any competitor can enter Internet with those keywords. “It is also relevant to point out that the plaintiff themselves, though holding a registered trademark, have also used them as keywords and paid Google for advertisements… Such being the position, the mere registration of trademark of the generic words, in my view, will not entitle the plaintiff to get an order of injunction.” He pointed out that the plaintiff company had failed to include the search engine Google as one of the respondents to the civil suits. “As long as Google is not made a party and people have no other choice of advertisements except through the search engine, they cannot be prevented from using certain keywords,” he added. Justice Kumar went on to state that “only when Google is made a party in the civil suits and it enters appearance before this court, can it be ascertained how the entire programme has been made in the search engine. Without Google as a party, this court cannot make a roving inquiry into the issue on hand.” The judge also recorded the submission of the plaintiff company and its counsel that they were not seeking monopoly over the words Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Matrimony and Matrimonial individually. The plaintiff was only against the use of the combination of the words both with a space in between and without a space too. Rejecting such a plea, the court said: “When the competitors have no other choice except advertising their business in the virtual world and unless Google, which sells the keywords to advertisers, is added as a party, injunction cannot be ordered against the competitors, who are legitimately using only the available marketing methods at present.”
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