Legal tussle between PropertyGuru and 99.co over copyright infringement begins

Legal tussle between PropertyGuru and 99.co over copyright infringement begins

One of Singapore’s biggest property websites is suing its rival for copyright infringement in an attempt to stop the competitor from “further copying” its content.

SINGAPORE: One of Singapore’s biggest property websites is suing its rival for copyright infringement in an attempt to stop the competitor from “further copying” its content.

The five-day trial began in the High Court on Wednesday (Sep 20), with PropertyGuru suing 99.co for unspecified damages.

The court heard that PropertyGuru first confronted 99.co regarding the alleged copyright infringement sometime in February 2015. In the same month, PropertyGuru started commercial investigations against 99.co.

In an attempt to end their disputes amicably, both parties signed a settlement agreement on Sep 28, 2015.

In the agreement, 99.co agreed not to substantially reproduce any content found on websites owned by PropertyGuru, or to link or authorise others to connect to PropertyGuru’s websites for the purpose of posting property listings.

It also agreed to delete any such content from the 99.co website.

But PropertyGuru claimed that 99.co breached the agreement in the same year, when it allowed content from the PropertyGuru website to be extracted and posted on 99.co website using an application called Xpressor Platform and another application called Posting Assistance in September 2016.

PropertyGuru also accused 99.co of inducing property agents using its service to breach its terms of use and acceptable use policy, by providing those who signed up for its service with an Xpressor Platform account and making Posting Assistance accessible online.

Both PropertyGuru and 99.co websites allow buyers and sellers of property including property agents to view and advertise listings.

PropertyGuru said it was “plainly clear” that 99.co had reproduced the content as photographs found on 99.co carried the watermark PropertyGuru.com.sg, the court heard.

99.co has denied all claims and asserts that PropertyGuru does not own the copyright to the photographs posted on its website by its users.

99.co, which is backed by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, is counter-suing and seeking damages from PropertyGuru for groundless threats of legal proceedings.

PropertyGuru, which was registered in 2006, is represented by Mr Sathinathan Karuppiah and Mr Lew Shaun Marc of Samuel Seow Law Corp. 99.co, which was registered in 2014, is represented by Mr Gerald Tan and Mr Koh Chia Ling of OC Queen Street.

Source: CNA/cy

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