• Paytm challenges wrongful use of its confidential information by Unicommerce

    The ongoing war between e-commerce websites for market share made its way into the courts on Thursday with Paytm, a Noida-based e-commerce company, alleging that Snapdeal-owned Unicommerce eSolutions Pvt. Ltd had wrongfully accessed its seller information.

    Unicommerce provides services to sellers on various e-commerce platforms, including Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart. It also provides such services to sellers on Paytm’s platform despite the latter warning its sellers (through a posting on its site) not to use Unicommerce’s solutions.

    This warning was prompted by fears that Unicommerce could pass on sensitive information (such as inventory positions) to Snapdeal.

    Sandeep Sethi, counsel for Paytm, told the Delhi high court that Unicommerce was “using the login information, username, password created by Paytm for its sellers to gain access to details such as orders placed, stock details, seller information”.

    Paytm also objected to Unicommerce using its logo for promotional purposes—creating the impression of an association between the companies (and presumably encouraging Paytm’s sellers to use its services) when, in reality, there is none. Paytm says it does not work with intermediaries.

    Justice Vipin Sanghi, who heard the arguments at length, took cognizance of the case and sought a reply from Unicommerce.

    A Paytm spokesperson declined to comment on the court proceedings.

    Unicommerce was acquired by Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd) in March 2015 for an undisclosed amount.

    During the court proceeding, Unicommerce agreed to stop using Paytm’s logo, pull down an older advertisement on YouTube carrying Paytm’s logo and said it would not use the Paytm sellers’ data for any other purpose except for providing service to them, implicitly denying that it was passing on data to Snapdeal.

    According to Prathiba Singh, counsel for Unicommerce, the data being contested here belongs to the sellers and is being used with their permission.

    Paytm sought protection of the information because Snapdeal is a direct competitor and use of such information would be detrimental to its interest.

    Founded in 2012 by three graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi— Ankit Pruthi, Karun Singla and Vibhu Garg—Unicommerce offers a pay-per-use web-based solution that helps small sellers and e-commerce firms manage their orders on various e-commerce portals from the time they are placed till the products are delivered.

    The case will be heard next on 11 July.

    A Unicommerce spokesperson said: “While the matter is sub-judice, we believe that the allegations made are clearly unfounded and speculative.”

    “Unicommerce provides world class technology tools for tens of thousands of small businesses looking to successfully sell on e-commerce marketplaces. Instead of being restrictive and unfriendly towards these small businesses, they should be encouraged to use best in class solutions from Unicommerce to efficiently manage and grow their business. Any attempt to prevent sellers to improve their efficiencies is an unfairly restrictive business practice and only showcases a company’s misalignment with the goals of online sellers who want to be successful,” the spokesperson added. Reid Boucher Authentic Jersey

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