Friday 22 April 2016

Official verdict on the Paytm vs. Snapdeal case
It’s the day after judgment but Snapdeal owned company Unicommerce hasn’t been nailed against the wall like Paytm hoped. The claims that spurred legal action included accusations of ecommerce management company, Unicommerce stealing business data from Paytm. Mobile ecommerce platform Paytm also claimed Unicommerce is using its logo without permission.
Everyone has their eyes on this case because online marketplace Snapdeal has ownership over Unicommerce. Marketplace rivalry is not a rare occurrence. In fact, India ecommerce has seen multiple cases of marketplace foul play like the instances between cab aggregators Uber and Ola and hotel room aggregators OYO and ZO (who later merged).

Delhi High Court’s Judgment

Against Paytm

Paytm might have seen this going differently, but the Delhi high court hasn’t shut down the Snapdeal owned company in question. All of the injunctions proposed by Paytm were denied by the High Court yesterday.
The plea of injunction included the following requests:
  • Restrain Unicommerce from using the word “PayTM”.
  • Prohibit the use of the Paytm logo
  • Prevent Unicommerce from accessing information derived through its online sellers
According to the court, the defendant is free to use the word PayTM in normal font where needed.
An injunction against the use of use of Paytm’s logo was not granted. Unicommerce informed the court it has stopped using the marketplace’s logo since December 2015 and agreed to not to use the same log in the future.
Unicommerce’s staus quo, of accessing seller data as a representative of the seller and making this data available to them, was not ordered to be changed. The court saw no reason to change it. The ecommerce company explained in court that any information acquired from sellers was obtained with their consent and only for the purpose of improving the seller’s business.

For Paytm

However, the plaintiff was given relief in the form of restraining the rival’s unit from using any information obtained through sellers registered on the Paytm platform.
According to the court order, Unicommerce must also either take down its YouTube advertisement or modify it by removing the Paytm logo shown in it. They have agreed to remove the logo from the video.
The case shall be heard in court on 11 July 2016.

Responses to the Case

Unicommerce says

Unicommerce said, “Reliefs sought (by Paytm) have not been granted. We welcome the honourable court’s interim order. While the matter is sub-judice, we believe that the allegations made are clearly unfounded and speculative”

Paytm says

Snapdeal though did not have any immediate comments to share. On the other hand, Paytm has advised all its sellers not to use Unicommerce through a blog post announcement.
“We would like to inform you that Paytm does not support Unicommerce in any way. Using its services or products for managing your business with us, is strictly prohibited.”
“If we find any of our partners using Unicommerce services, we would take strict action including but not limited to imposing penalties or blocking the concerned partner entirely.”

Sellers say

That’s not all! Even the union of sellers at AIOVA has something to say about Paytm’s accusation and Snapdeal’s maybe involvement. The association states that Paytm itself was integrated with Unicommerce at one point of time. Sellers on the AIOVA forum feel strongly about marketplace injustice and feel being denied the right to use ecommerce software is unjust. Especially if sellers are not provided proof!
These kinds of overnight change in marketplace rules are unethical and do absolutely nothing for online sellers. Another reason why Indian ecommerce so desperately needs a non bias regulatory power!
AIOVA also requested Snapdeal to come clean because sellers using the Unicommerce software want the truth.

Paytm has it out for Unicommerce or Snapdeal?

Paytm may seem like the good guy but is this case just their way of breaking Snapdeal? Piece by piece! Don’t be fooled if Snapdeal does turn out to be the villain for real in this ecommerce story. Information is worth more than you could possibly think. Rivals that possess sensitive business data will have the upper hand and the means of shredding competition to bit. So why aren’t Flipkart, Amazon and every online marketplace out there frazzled by the events unfolding?

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