In yet another incident of Snapdeal selling duplicate products, the Delhi High Court (HC) has ordered ecommerce platform’s cofounders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal to appear before it on January 9, 2020. The summon was issued on December 4, 2019.
However, Snapdeal’s lawyers, on Tuesday (December 17), filed a plea seeking an exemption from personal appearance for the cofounders. The hearing for this plea is scheduled on January 7, 2020.
In this case, which has been going on for months now, two sellers had listed counterfeit branded products of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) on the platform, sources closed to the matter told ET.
On its part, HUL reportedly claimed that these two sellers had listed duplicate Indulekha-branded hair oil and hair cleanser on Snapdeal’s platform. Besides Snapdeal, HUL has also called for legal action against Snapdeal’s logistics partner in this case.
In a similar case earlier, the court had directed Snapdeal to take down the listings of duplicate products within 48 hours of HUL informing the company about it. However, HUL has, reportedly, again found a couple of sellers back on the platform after Snapdeal delisted them.
While Snapdeal is currently maintaining the stance that it is merely a marketplace and does not sell those products itself, HUL lawyers argued that the online marketplace facilitated the logistics, advertising and managed the listing of the products, so it could not absolve itself from the responsibility.
Speaking to Inc42, a Snapdeal spokesperson said that in response to the show-cause notice issued by the Delhi HC, the company has filed an exemption application and the same is sub-judice.
The spokesperson further said that the company works closely with brands, law enforcement authorities, and international associations to strengthen the mechanism for protection of intellectual property rights and the rights of honest sellers and buyers on the platform. “As an intermediary, Snapdeal has taken a wide variety of measures to identify and remove sellers who flout Snapdeal’s policies and attempt to list non-genuine products,” the spokesperson added.
This is not the first time when Snapdeal has been taken to the courts for selling duplicate products. In July 2019, the Delhi HC has asked Snapdeal to crack down on fake product listings on its website in response to a civil lawsuit filed by Titan against the ecommerce marketplace and some of its sellers.
Titan had then alleged that sellers were posting counterfeit Fastrack watches on Snapdeal. Titan further alleged that the platform did not take down various listings despite being notified.
In another case registered against Bahl and Bansal in Kota, Rajasthan, a local Congress leader had alleged that he received fake products. The Snapdeal founders were then booked under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.
Moreover, Japanese consumer electronics giant Casio, in July 2019, sued Snapdeal and sellers on its platform for allegedly selling counterfeit versions of the brand’s products such as watches and calculators.