Yandex files lawsuit against antitrust watchdog to declare decisions and actions illegal

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MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The Russian internet company Yandex has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) with the Moscow Arbitration Court to declare the regulator’s decisions and actions in the case of search promotion tools illegal. This is according to the court’s files.

“We are ready to openly explain our position and proposal on enhanced results to the market as part of the requirements specified in the FAS warning. Therefore, Yandex initially petitioned for an extension of the deadline for their execution. We filed a claim to appeal against the refusal to extend this deadline. We hope for further discussion, taking into account the interests of different companies. We are sure that a solution can be found only through dialogue between all parties,” the company explained. The lawsuit was filed on June 9.

According to the FAS press service, new parties (Klin.ru LLC and Interactive Teaching Technologies LLC) have been involved in consideration of the case against the company.

It is also noted that on June 9, during the meeting, the applicants confirmed the arguments set out in the statements, illustrating that Yandex’s practices have not changed.

“Yandex did not submit information on the proposed and discussed conditions for providing enhanced results. The applicants also expressed their position on the published principles of access to Yandex options, noting that they are not market and fair,” the service noted.

The next hearing on the case will take place on July 21.

Yandex case

In August 2020, online services ivi, Avito, CIAN, Profi.ru, Tutu.ru, Drom.ru, 2GIS, and Zoon filed a complaint to the FAS over Yandex abuse of its dominant position on the online search market. The main complaint concerned widgets, special search engine tools, which are most often displayed above other search results and enable users to search for tickets, ads, movies, and more without going to a separate page. According to the companies, only Yandex services can get there, but this tool does not show the most suitable query result, distracts users’ attention leading them to Yandex services. As a result, Yandex competitors lose traffic.

In turn, Yandex stated that widgets are an international industry standard, they are not fixed in the first positions by default and have no advantages over regular search results.

In February, the FAS obliged Yandex to stop providing advantages in online search segment to its own services (including Yandex.Vertical, Yandex.Market, Yandex.Mediaservices, Kinopoisk) within one month. The FAS also obliged Yandex to publish the terms of service access to search promotion tools, as well as to provide equal access to them for all market players.

On April 13, 2021, the antitrust regulator launched a case against Yandex over the company’s failure to comply with the requirements. The case was considered on June 9.

On May 28, Yandex announced that it would provide all companies with access to setting up complex enhanced responses, and also published the rules and conditions for obtaining it. According to these rules, partners must, in particular, provide Yandex with their data and also maintain authorization on their resources and payment through the company’s tools. The participants in the dispute with the IT giant reacted ambiguously to the published rules. For example, Avito stated that the industry players would unlikely fulfill some of the requirements. The online cinema ivi drew attention to the fact that partners will have to provide Yandex with a large volume of information, including those constituting a commercial secret.