China's Baidu and Qihoo 360 sign pact meant to resolve dispute

Baidu last month filed a lawsuit against Qihoo 360 for alleged illegal use of its content

Chinese Internet giant Baidu and its rival Qihoo 360 signed an agreement on Thursday to compete fairly in China's search engine market, following a dispute between the two companies over search indexing.

The two companies, along with ten other Internet search providers, signed a "self-regulation pact" sponsored by the Internet Society of China, an industry trade group, which received support from Chinese government regulators for drafting the pact.

Qihoo 360's new search engine was launched in August and is now competing with Baidu's search services, which have long dominated the market with over 70 percent share.

A key section of the pact requires the Chinese Internet firms to abide by a robot exclusion protocol, a convention widely used by companies to prevent others from accessing certain parts or the entirety of a website.

Baidu alleges Qihoo 360's search engine has violated its robot exclusion protocol by indexing its Web pages, such as its encyclopedia and question-and-answer sites, without its permission.

To fight back, Baidu filed a lawsuit against Qihoo 360 last month, claiming that the company is illegally using and reproducing its content, and asking for 100 million yuan (US$15.9 million) in compensation. In its defense, Qihoo 360 has said it should be given access to Baidu's product pages, equating them to a public resource.

The pact signed by the two companies, however, is limited in scope and power. If a company is found in violation, the Internet Society of China will issue a warning and make a public condemnation in the media.

The agreement is more of a symbolic effort to tone down Baidu's dispute with Qihoo 360, which risked escalating, said Zhao Zhanling, an expert on China's information technology law.

The language in the pact does not side with Baidu or Qihoo 360 in their dispute, Zhao said. It states the Internet firms must observe the robot exclusion protocol, but also aims to ensure that the protocol is used to fairly promote the free flow of information.

"I think the pact is trying to find a balance," Zhao said. "The pact has no power backed by law, it's more about trying to get everyone on the same page."

Both Baidu and Qihoo 360 said they support the self-regulation pact.

"(It) has for the first time highlighted the critical role that the Robots protocol plays in regulating the Internet search industry, and its significance to the healthy development of the search sector," Baidu said in a statement.

Qihoo 360 said in an email, "We believe the agreement is positive for China's search market. The move will create a more open and fair competitive landscape, which will benefit the smaller guys over time."

The two companies declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmentregulationinternetlegalsearch enginesintellectual propertybaidu

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?