Snapdeal pair summoned to Delhi High Court to discuss fakes

The co-founders of Indian online marketplace Snapdeal are fighting a request to appear before the High Court in Delhi next month in connection with a counterfeiting case.

Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal have been summoned to the court on January 9, but lawyers acting on their behalf have filed to request an exemption, which is due to be heard on January 7, reports The Economic Times.

The long-running case follows a complaint by Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) that counterfeits of its Indulekha brand of hair oil and hair cleanser were being listed for sale on Snapdeal in violation of its intellectual property rights.

It’s not the first time that the Indian e-commerce company has attracted the ire of brand owners for not doing enough to take down counterfeit listings on its site and mobile app.

It is also being sued by Japanese consumer electronics firm Casio for allowing fake version of its products – including calculators - on the platform, as well as by watch seller Titan.

Snapdeal’s position in the lawsuit is that it should not be held responsible for counterfeits listed by third-party sellers, and that it has taken plenty of steps to strengthen IP protection.

That includes setting up a brand registry programme that allows companies to register their brand name and trademarks and get exclusive rights to sell their product in the relevant categories on the Snapdeal marketplace.

It also points to “Brand Shield”, which offers a single point of contact for brands to report suspected counterfeit products being sold on the Snapdeal platform and a “one-day de-listing process for verified complaints”.

In October, the company said downloads of its app had broached the 100m threshold, a 37% increase over the previous 12 months.

It has also said that more than 1,000 brands – including Wolphy (Fitness Equipment), Tanishka Fabs (Bed Linen), Voylla (fashion jewelry), Bentag (Electronics) – have joined its registry programme.

Image by Agoel89 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

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