Wednesday 27 April 2016

Furniture brand accuses AskMe’s Mebelkart of copyright infringement

Online furniture and home furnishing marketplace Mebelkart is in the middle of litigation. Furniture group Housefull International has taken Mebelkart to courtfor non-payment of dues and imitation of brand name. Housefull claims that it had stopped selling on Mebelkart as the latter had defaulted on dues worth Rs. 28 lakhs.
However, they discovered that Mebelkart was selling furniture under the name ‘Housefull’. Akshay Chaturvedi, co-founder of Housefull International, says,
“After terminating our partnership with (Mebelkart), later in March we started receiving negative feedback from market associates about our products being fake and definitely not resembling the original quality.”

Lawsuit demanding repayment of dues and copyright infringement

Housefull filed a case against Mebelkart with the Mumbai police to seek repayment of the outstanding Rs. 28 lakhs and a compensation of Rs. 150 crores for ‘damaging their reputation’.
Mebelkart on the other hand, has rubbished these claims. Rahul Agarwal, CEO of Mebelkart says that the marketplace had removed Housefull, and not the other way round, “Housefull was delisted from the website due to non-compliance with our terms and conditions.” He further claimed,
“There is no product under the ‘Housefull’ brand name being sold and no use of any trademark of the said brand. ‘Housefull’ is a generic term, and several sellers use the word in their product descriptions.”
A quick scan of Mebelkart did not throw up any results for Housefull; but this need not be taken as an authoritative conclusion.

Mebelkart AskMe Groups’s protégé

Interestingly, the AskMe group owns 75% share in Mebelkart.
Litigations are not new to online commerce. Recently, Paytm filed a case againstSnapdeal accusing the latter of stealing business data. The recent court verdictdoes not fully placate Paytm, but the judiciary is nobody’s pacifier!

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