The bitter competition between India’s two oldest online platforms – IndiaMART NSE -0.24 % and Just Dial NSE 5.32 % – has now reached the court.
Delhi High Court has ordered an investigation into an alleged data theft by the classified search company Just Dial. Based on a case filed by India’s oldest e-commerce platform IndiaMART, the court last week appointed three local commissioners to reportedly survey the Just Dial premises along with local police and IndiaMART representatives and submit a detailed report to the court.
The court has also restrained Just Dial from using the word JDMART.
Shares of Just Dial have rallied nearly 60% since October 16 after it showcased its business-to-business (B2B) specific offering called the JD Mart. With JD Mart, the company will look to enter B2B classified space and compete with IndiaMART.
India Mart has alleged that Just Dial has indulged in slavish imitation of its content which runs into several thousands of pages and even copied the design and presentations of its customers.
According to sources aware of the development, the Delhi High Court has ordered that the local commissioners make an inventory of all the copies of the database comprising the Just Dial website, its mobile site and mobile application. The court also has asked the commissioners to take the mirror images of the entire database of the CPUs, hard disks, laptops and storage media of the Just Dial in respect of its launch of its proposed B2B project JD Mart.
Confirming the developments, Dinesh Agarwal, CEO of IndiaMart said it brought this matter to the notice of the court, which directed an on-ground investigation.
“We observed mass slavish copying of our data and copyrightable work like entire taxonomy category trees along with the bulk of supplier profiles, product names, photos, prices, description and specifications,” he said.
Abhishek Bansal, chief financial officer, Just Dial, said the company is pursuing all legal remedies in the Delhi High Court to counter Indiamart’s “absolutely baseless and frivolous allegations.”
“We respect the order; however it is pertinent to clarify that the order was passed ex parte and to date, we have not been served with a complete set of paperwork. We will present our position before the High Court shortly.”
He further clarified that the JD Mart platform’s development is running as per planned schedule and the product shall be launched in due course of time after seeking recourse from the Delhi High Court.
Just Dial has also alleged that IndiaMART are themselves indulging in illegal activities in all possible manner. “They have not only committed this crime of data theft but have also flouted the government’s SOP (guidelines) during their recent visit to our premises under the garb of an ex-parte order thereby jeopardising the health, life & limb of our employees” said Abhishek Bansal of Just Dial.