(CBN - Global) April 13 -- Shanghai Hantao Information Consulting Ltd., which owns Yelp-like review website Dianping, has filed a lawsuit against Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Ltd. claiming CNY90 million (USD14 million) for alleged infringement.
Hantao Information claims that a large numbers of Dianping reviews were reproduced by Baidu Maps and Baidu Knows, causing significant loss to Dianping, the world's first independent third-party consumer review website. Baidu Online is a subsidiary of Baidu Inc., a major Chinese Internet and technology firm.
Baidu is a search engine and does not compete with Dianping, the company's attorney said. Any content shown on Baidu Maps benefited Dianping, rather than infringing on its interests, he said.
If Dianping's robots exclusion protocol is open to Baidu and other Internet search engines, the crawling of contents from Dianping.com by Baidu Maps would be legitimate according to the protocol, in which case it would be difficult for Dianping to win its unfair competition case against Baidu, China's dominant search engine. Search engines use web crawling software to update their content.
Website operators must abide by the robots exclusion protocol when crawling content from other websites. The protocol, also known as robots exclusion standard or robots.txt, allows websites to communicate with search engines identifying which web pages can be crawled and which cannot.