Baidu.com, one of China's leading online search engines, accused its competitor 3721.com of inhibiting users of the 3721 service from also accessing Baidu's online search suite. Baidu's initial request for 1 million CNY (US$121,000) in compensation and public apology was rejected by the Chinese court, but it was granted 5000 CNY (US$620).

Baidu appears pleased with the decision. China Daily reports that Baidu's marketing director Bi Sheng said, "We hope the court decision can help regulate the Internet market and protect the interests of net users."

3721 is not pleased, but has not decided whether it will appeal the decision to a higher court.

The Beijing Chaoyang District People's Court heard the case and handed down the decision yesterday. Internet law in China is still new and analysts say cases like these are often difficult to win because of lack of precedent and ignorance of technology on the part of the court.

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