Online shopping websites are popping up more and more frequently all over India as ecommerce has become a way of life in this country. Shopping online is no longer strictly reserved for the wealthy or tech-savvy, but has become a preferred way of shopping for a large part of the population. It is predicted that India’s ecommerce market will eventually outgrow that of China. With this rapid development in ecommerce platforms it is inevitable that online scammers and people trying to sell counterfeit goods and fakes on these online marketplaces will become a reality. Below are the most popular ecommerce platforms in India, followed by advice on how to combat counterfeiting and infringements on these websites.
Flipkart was founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, and its headquarters are located in Bangalore, India. They started out in a similar way to Amazon – as an online bookseller that soon started branching out into other areas. Today, it is India’s biggest ecommerce platform.
2016, Flipkart counted 100 million registered users, covering 43% of India’s ecommerce market.
2017, Flipkart counted a revenue of US$ 3 billion.
2017, Skechers sued Flipkart for allegedly selling counterfeit goods as Sketchers products.
Flipkart was adamant that they were fully compliant with the rules and that they conduct their business with the highest standards. Flipkart has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for counterfeit products, meaning it immediately removes counterfeits as soon as they are spotted. The platform also has an Infringement Verification process where intellectual property owners can report listings that infringe their rights.
Snapdeal, founded in 2010 by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, is Flipkart’s biggest rival on the market today. They are based in New Delhi, India. It started out as a daily deals platform, but developed into a fully fledged online marketplace by 2011. Today, it is one of the largest online marketplaces in India with over 40 million users and 300.000 sellers. Snapdeal expects to have 20 million daily visitors by 2020.
This year, a reporter for India’s Economic Times wrote an article about ecommerce giants in India and counterfeit goods. He had purchased a pair of Adidas sneakers on Snapdeal, and these sneakers turned out to be fakes. Snapdeal said the vastness and complexity of the market, as well as their suppliers, are to blame. They also said they are using image recognition technology to help identify intellectual property violations.
Shopclues is an online marketplace founded by Sanjay Sethi, Sandeep Aggarwal and Radhika Aggarwal in Silicon Valley in 2011. Its headquarters are located in Gurgaon, India. Shopclues worked its way up to the top by focusing on household items, while Flipkart and Snapdeal mainly focused on electronics. The platform claims to have over 600.000 sellers and is valued at US$ 1.1 billion.
Back in 2015, Ray-Ban sued Shopclues for selling fake eyewear on their platform. Shopclues said they work closely with brands to clean the site of counterfeits, and have their own intellectual property protection program so brand owners can easily reach out and protect their brands.
How to stop fakes in India
These three ecommerce platforms each have their own policy regarding intellectual property rights. The following information can be found on their websites:
Flipkart: Flipkart respects third party intellectual property rights and supports the protection of all third party intellectual property. Their policy is to immediately respond to clear notices of alleged IP infringement. If they receive proper notification of IP infringement, they will remove or disable access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity. Below are their guidelines for how to report a listing:
Snapdeal: Snapdeal states that, since it is an online marketplace and intermediary, it is not obliged to monitor or control the products sold on their website. However, Snapdeal may choose to monitor and remove products from the website if it is determined that this content is in violation of Snapdeal’s policies or any applicable law. Below is the violations report procedure:
Shopclues: Shopclues is committed to protecting third party IP rights. Unauthorised use of infringement or copyrighted material and trademarks are strictly prohibited. They state that they have zero tolerance for any intellectual property violations. Violations of the policy can result in product listing cancellation, limits on account privileges, account suspension, and loss of top rated merchant status.
Pointer Brand Protection is a brand protection service that aims to help you with any problems you may have regarding intellectual property, brand protection, and online enforcement in India, or anywhere else in the world. Contact us to improve your brand protection strategy, or if you have any questions.