After shareChat dragged Chinese content maker ByteDance to court over copyright issues, the Delhi High Court has ordered Bytedance to desist from using “ShareChat” as an ad-word on Google.
As reported by Economic Times, the allegation against them is that Bytedance has developed an India-specific app called ‘Helo’ and when people type ShareChat in Google’s search engine, the first results pushed out are the links to Helo. This is done by Google’s AdWords, being paid by Bytedance to do so.
The Court has issued an order restricting Google and Bytedance from continuing with this practice with immediate effect, giving the search engine giant 48 hours to either deactivate those ‘deceptive’ entries and not permit them to appear within AdWords.
The deception part, as explained to the Court by the lawyers representing ShareChat, includes the charge that the look and feel of Helo is quite similar to ShareChat and there are other icons appearing on the app that share their resemblance to the ones found on ShareChat. In addition to these, Helo carries copies of comments on its website which appear fictitious.
The similarities possibly end there as ShareChat has been around for a while and boasts of an overall subscriber base of over 50 million, whereas Helo was launched just 4-5 months back in India and has about 5 million people on its platform. ShareChat offers its service in 11 Indian languages while Helo has only in Hindi.
Interestingly, Bytedance is one of the highest valued startups in the world, higher than the app-based cab service Uber, which is valued at $72 billion. The company has been seen to be spending huge amounts on advertising in India, particularly through Google and Facebook as promotion.
In contrast, SharChat enjoys a valuation of just below half a billion dollars and had recently raised $100 million in funding.