In the ongoing legal tussle between Indian software-as-a-service (SaaS) giants Zoho and Freshworks, the US District Court of the Northern District of California which is hearing the case has sought judicial assistance from the Madras High Court to obtain certain documents and testimony for examination in the case.
In March last year, Zoho Corp had filed a lawsuit alleging that Freshworks had stolen its confidential information and built a business out of it.
The most recent US court request to Madras HC is related to cross-examination of subjects and evidence collection from former Freshworks employee(s) whom Zoho has accused in its second complaint against the SaaS rival. The second complaint against Freshworks is related to trade secret misappropriation and gaining illegal access to its customer database through one of its employees.
According to the lawsuit accessed by Inc42, Zoho alleged that Freshworks, since its inception, built its business upon theft and misuse of Zoho’s confidential business information.
Freshworks was founded by two former Zoho employees, Girish Mathrubootham, who was formerly a vice president of product management at Zoho and Shan Krishnasamy, who was formerly a Zoho technical architect working under Mathrubootham. Both of them had worked in Zoho from 2001 to 2010 before founding Freshworks.
Zoho has also accused Freshworks of misusing its confidential financial information to get the first round of funding. The lawsuit said that Freshworks had used Zoho’s non-public financial information to gain investors’ confidence.
According to ET, which first reported the development, the US court request has sought access to the subject matter for questioning/cross-examination, which will include information viewed in or copied from Zoho’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database and with whom the employee shared that information.
The request listed “a forensic copy of the cellular device…used to take photos of Zoho’s CRM database, access to and inspection of a copy of … personal WhatsApp account,” among other details.
As of March last year, Zoho was also engaged in a legal tussle with US-based sales and marketing platform HubSpot over the names of one of its suit tools. Both companies offer marketing and sales services under the “Marketing Hub” banner. However, HubSpot, which launched its Marketing Hub product in July 2018, had accused Zoho Corp of trademark infringement.