The panel constituted of Ramesh Abhishek, retired IAS, ex-secretary, DPIIT, co-founder and group chief executive officer, MakeMyTrip; Murugavel, founder and chief executive officer, Matrimony.com; Rohan Verma, chief executive officer, MapmyIndia and Ajay Data, founder and chief executive officer, Data Xgen Technologies, who is also secretary general, ADIF.
The deliberations revolved around the need for government’s intervention to ensure that no organization specific keywords were permitted for bidding by third parties in Google Ads policy. This has come in the wake of the Delhi HC order in favour of Makemytrip where the Court directed Google to suspend the advertising account of HappyEasyGo on the Google Ads Programme.
In line with ADIF’s objective of playing a role in policy framework, the panel brainstormed on the topic – ‘Protection of Your Organization, Brand Name and IPR for online bidding on advertisement platforms.’ ADIF aims to promote a level playing field for Indian companies to build solutions for the country that are adopted globally.
Owing to unfair policies by leading Big Tech platforms, the usage and bidding on company name specific keywords such as Matrimony, Map My India is allowed. This has resulted in other companies selling similar products and services to capitalize on the brand value of the companies, putting existing companies at a greater disadvantage.
Through such discussions, ADIF aims to assist in the creation of forward-looking regulatory processes and ease of doing business policies to propel India as the top destination for innovation and capital.
Murugavel Jankiraman, founder and chief executive officer, Matrimony.com, said, “Stop Google monetizing the brands of Indian companies. Brands are created with so much hardwork, years or decades of effort, built by hundreds or thousands of people, marketed by spending 100’s of crores of investment. All the effort is monetizing by Google by allowing anyone and everyone to bid for these brands. Companies end up in spending crores of money to protect their own brands to prevent their customers going to competitors or frivolous entities. Companies are losing their revenue and customers because of Google not protecting brands.”
Ashim Sood, Supreme Court Advocate added, “Indian courts are sophisticated in their understanding of issues including the problems raised by keywords based advertising. But judicial delays sometimes come in the way of an entrepreneur being able to protect his mark to the fullest extent – many times the fact of whether a trademark was violated comes down to evidence, and this evidence only becomes available in a trial that lasts years. This coupled with the dominance of Google in the search market renders local entrepreneurs vulnerable. There does need to be a discussion based regulatory initiative to deal with the issue.”