Indian Web Portal Wars – Data Theft Alleged

The beginning of 2010 saw some of the Big portals complaining about Data Theft and took legal recourse… first matter was between Travel Portals – Travelocity.co.in V. ClearTrip.com and secondly between Yellow Pages – JustDial V. Infomedia (network 18 group).

In the Travel Portal matter, Travelocity has filed an FIR with Gurgaon Poilce against CEO, Cleartrip and former MD of Desiya alleging criminal breach of trust, data theft, cheating, criminal misappropriation and criminal conspiracy. Copy of FIR reads as follows:

“Taneja had allegedly passed on the company’s intellectual property, trade secrets, sensitive data, proprietary technology source codes, their entire hotel business model and projections to Crighton including an excel file named ‘Hotels Growth Model.xls’. It further states that Taneja was terminated from Desiya on 19th September 2009.”

It is further alleged that as a result of the Data Theft, Travelocity is expected to see sharp fall in revenues upto 15%, i.e. approx Rs 200 million in the next year. (source)

In the second such matter, it is reported that JustDial has obtained injunction against Infomedia 18 Limited for running website www.askme.in, as JustDial has alleged that Infomedia 18 Limited had copied former’s database onto it’s newly launched website: www.askme.in, thereby violating JustDial’s database copyrights.

The injunction was granted exparte by the Hon’ble High Court and further order has been made for search and seizure to be carried out at Infomedia’s Delhi and Mumbai offices, as prima-facie case was made out by the Just Dial officials.

Basically, Askme.in was advertised/marketed in 2009 on a large scale by Infomedia extensively to it’s new and existing customer… and further even Infomedia yellow pages 2009-10 publication was delayed by over 7 months, i.e. till December 2009. The reason was stated that they are in the process of launching a new product called askme.in, which would help customers make more profits. Though, the delay by Infomedia 18 Limited also lead to cancellation of many advertisements, including Archer Softech’s Advertisement… as the purpose of advertisement was defeated by such a long delay !