Update: November 23, 2020
The Delhi high court heard the matter on Monday (November 23). Poonia has been restrained from downloading any curriculum from WhiteHat Jr and circulating it to third parties. Besides this, he has been restrained from commenting on the number or quality of teachers of WhiteHat Jr and from commenting on their educational or other professional backgrounds.Read Delhi HC's Interim Verdict Here
While the court was still hearing Poonia’s case, WhiteHat Jr sent a $1.9 Mn defamation notice to angel investor Aniruddha Malpani, who was earlier banned from LinkedIn for criticizing BYJU’s.Read HC Interim Order On Malpani
BYJU’S-owned online coding platform WhiteHat Jr’s CEO and founder Karan Bajaj, on Saturday (November 21), filed an INR 20 Cr ($2.6 Mn) defamation case against software engineer Pradeep Poonia, who goes by the name WhiteHatSnr on Twitter. Poonia will have to present in Delhi high court on Monday (November 22, 2020) in this matter.
The defamation notice sent to Poonia, accessed by Inc42, has highlighted that the defendant was in violation of the Trade Marks Act of 199, The Copyright Act of 1957 and Code of Civil Procedure of 1908. The case has been filed for “Infringement of Registered and Unregistered Trademarks.”
The case has been filed with respect to the “defamatory comments” made by Poonia about WhiteHat Jr. The company, WhiteHat Jr & Anr represented by Fidus Law Chambers, has accused the defendant of trademark infringement, passing off and dilution of trademarks, copyright infringement, and the torts of inducing breach of contract. Besides this, Poonia has also been accused of mischief as also an invasion of privacy of the company and its employees.
The notice specified that Poonia started this defamation spree in early September by making comments on WhiteHat Jr’s advertisements concerning an imaginary child “Wolf Gupta”, a teen who landed a job in Google. “The Defendant’s posts quickly turned sinister subsequent to the withdrawal of the advertisements, with the defendant claiming that Plaintiff No. 1 [WhiteHat Jr] had “murdered” Wolf Gupta,” the notice read.
WhiteHat Jr had also issued a takedown notice against Poonia, which he adhered to the notice highlighted. But soon Poonia allegedly launched a “systematic and highly defamatory attack” against the WhiteHat Jr “even resorting to acts which are brazenly illegal and thereafter making wild and baseless allegations against the Plaintiffs.”
The company has also accused Poonia of hacking into WhiteHat Jr’s internal business communications platform, SLACK, to access confidential employee communications, including communications with parents (customers) and put them up in the public domain.
2. #WhiteHatJr entire ORM team jumps on the tweets of the already frustrated and suicidal girl & starts reporting it from their personal accounts as well & within hours by 4am puts a temp restriction on her tweets
For reference, Nikhil Mittal is Marketing VP of #WhiteHatJrScam pic.twitter.com/0JDgO7hV5z
— Pradeep Poonia (@whiteHatSnr) November 13, 2020
This claim was in reference to Poonia’s tweet thread, highlighting how whiteHat Jr’s ORM team handled any negative comments against the company on the internet. The thread had also highlighted internal communications of the company talking about angel investor Aniruddha Malmani’s and Morning Context’s writer Abhishek Baxi’s tweets.
You can go through the legal notice here.
The development comes after coding for kids’ platform Tekie accused WhiteHat Jr. of using unethical tactics to understand and copy their model of teaching. Tekie cofounder Naman Mukund alleged that an employee of WhiteHat Jr, impersonated a grade six student’s persona to attend Tekie’s trial class.
“We encountered a suspicious session, where the student had their camera turned off, and the voice from their side sounded almost like a 30-year-old adult,” Naman Mukund, cofounder of Tekie said in a Linkedin post.