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Exclusive: Dukaan app removed from Play Store after court relief to Khatabook

The legal battle between KhataBook and Dukaan over an app that enables instant online store for small merchants has culminated in the removal of the latter’s app from the Play Store. In a writ petition filed by Khatabook, the Karnataka High Court has restrained Dukaan’s co-founder Suumit Shah from infringing KhataBook’s copyright over the source code of “Dukaan” application.

The order passed on September 25 also bars Shah from running, operating and managing the ‘Dukaan’ application on any and all online platforms including but not limited to Google Play store till the next date of hearing. 

Following the order, Dukaan app was removed from the Play Store on October 2. The court will hear the matter next on November 9. Shah confirmed that Dukaan has been removed from the Play Store by Google on the basis of the court order. 

Google didn’t immediately respond to queries sent by Entrackr.

Importantly, the app is working for its existing users. We used the already-downloaded app and found no glitches. “We are still trying to interpret what the Court has asked us to do and will do everything once we have clarity,” Shah told Entrackr when asked about the current status of the app already downloaded. He declined to comment further on the story.

While Growthpond Technology, parent of Dukaan, had sent a legal notice to Khatabook over plagiarising its logo and user interface in August, Khatabook’s app developer ADJ Utility Apps had filed a writ petition against Dukaan app and its co-founder Suumit Shah in Karnataka High Court on September 10.

It’s worth noting that ADJ Utility Apps had launched an app ‘Dukaan by Khatabook’ in the second half of August and Growthpond had launched its app by the name Dukaan on Play Store on June 2. Just days after the launch of Khatabook’s app, Growthpond Technology had sent a legal notice over plagiarism. 

While Khatabook didn’t respond to the notice at that time, it maintained that Dukaan is a brainchild of Khatabook and envisioned to help merchants go online instantly. Importantly, Khatabook changed the name of the application from ‘Dukaan by Khatabook’ to ‘MyStore by Khatabook’ recently.

Khatabook’s spokesperson said, “We have been compliant from the start. The latest development reflects that. Having said that, we would like to stay focused on our growth at the moment and would like to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

For those unaware, Growthpond and Rankz Inc (Shah is a co-founder in both companies) were vendors of Khatabook for the past year. It used to do custom product development and digital marketing campaigns for Khatabook. 

According to Entrackr’s sources, Growthpond was mandated by Khatabook to develop an app similar to Dukaan. The Sequoia-backed firm also paid the complete amount to Shah, but Growthpond allegedly launched the same app under its name before Khatabook. Khatabook’s writ petition alleged that Shah used the same source code that he used for Dukaan.

The removal of the app from the Play Store is a jolt for Dukaan that has grown at a quick pace in terms of downloads. According to Sensor Tower data, it has been downloaded over 2 million times with an active daily user base of over 59,000.

Dukaan was in advanced talks to raise $6 million in a seed round from Lightspeed and Matrix. The company had already raked in Rs 1 crore each from the two investors, regulatory filings show. 

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