Shenzhen Goome Technology Co., Ltd. v. Wuhan Yuanguang Science & Technology Co., Ltd., Shao Lingshuang et. al Case of Dispute over Unfair Competition
As an important resource in the information age, big data contains enormous economic and social value. With the boom of industries related to the big data industry, it is also urgent to establish industry norms and governance standards. This case clarified that using web crawler technology to steal big data resources for a similar business constitutes an unfair competition. This rule aims to encourage the big data industry players to follow the business ethics and carry out fair and benign competition.
From November 2015 to May 2016, Wuhan Yuanguang Science & Technology Co., Ltd. ("Yuanguang") to expand the market share and information query accuracy of the intelligent bus app “Chelaile”, Shao Lingshuang, the company's legal representative and president then, authorized Chen Mao, the company’s technical director to instruct employees Liu Jianghong, Liu Kunpeng, Zhang Xiang and others to use web crawler technology to obtain a large number of real-time bus information data of "Kumike", the like app run by Shenzhen Goome Technology Co., Ltd. ("Goome"), use it for its own app “Chelaile” and provide inquiry service to the public. Goome sued to the court for the break of business ethics and the principle of good faith by Yuanguang and relevant responsible persons which constituted unfair competition.
The court held that the commercially valued big data resources legally obtained by the right owner of the plaintiff Goome through collection, analysis, edition and compilation are protected by the relevant law. The plaintiff Goome provides free data query to the public for reasons of its business model or other needs, but the defendant Yuanguang uses web crawler technology to steal the data and use it to run its similar business. Yuanguang had the subjective intention of seeking its own competitive advantages by destroying others’ market competitive advantages, which seriously disrupted the market order, and thus constituted unfair competition. On May 23, 2018, Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court made a civil judgment, which ordered the defendant Wuhan Yuanguang Technology Co., Ltd. to compensate the plaintiff Shenzhen Goome Technology Co., Ltd. for the economic losses and reasonable costs of RMB 500,000 yuan. After the first instance judgment was pronounced and served, neither the plaintiff nor the defendant appealed, and the judgment has become effective.