Byju's-owned White Hat Jr gets breathing space against Pradeep Poonia from Delhi Court
WhiteHat Jr, a coding platform filed a defamation suit against Pradeep Poonia, a YouTuber, who has been criticising the company for its alleged wrongdoings and deceptive advertisements. The Delhi High Court while granting an interim injunction has restricted Poonia in its order from publishing the communication and chats of WhiteHat Jr and its employees, which Poonia had allegedly obtained by infiltrating WhiteHat Jr's internal communication database on the messaging platform Slack.
Furthermore, the court has also restrained him from making any information he has on Whitehat Jr public until the next court hearing scheduled on January 6, 2021.
“The suit entails several disputed questions of fact which it would be improper to enter upon at this stage. However, there are some facts which require an injunction," Delhi High Court justice Mukta Gupta said.
As per the court order, Poonia has also been barred from using the keyword "WhiteHat" for his YouTube channel until the next hearing.
Poonia, a software engineer, runs a YouTube channel called “WhiteHat Sr”, which claims to offer a curriculum similar to WhiteHat Jr for free. In the lawsuit, Bajaj and his company have alleged that Poonia has infringed their trademark, copyright and invasion of privacy.
He stated during the court proceedings that he did not copy any modules from Whitehat Jr which provides online classes on coding to school children or hacked into their database, and hence was unwilling to suffer an injunction on this count.
The restriction also extends to not using the name ‘WhiteHat’ for his YouTube channel, commenting about the teaching staff online. Poonia has also been ordered to remove the tweets where he accuses WhiteHat Jr of running a “pyramid scheme”.
“There’s a narrative being played around that we are suppressing criticism, whereas, we are welcoming fact-based criticism and making amends wherever necessary as we did recently with our marketing campaign,” Bajaj told the Economic Times.
Another defamation lawsuit of Rs 14 crore ($1.9 million) has been filed against angel investor Aniruddha Malpani by WhiteHat Jr. The lawsuit against Malpani highlights some tweets deemed as “derogatory imputations”. The suit further states that Malpani stands against the company citing his connection as an investor in a rival named Bibox Labs while seeking a permanent injunction restraining defamation, unfair competition, infringement of trademarks, damages and more.
The online coding platform WhiteHat Jr was asked in October by the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI), the advertising self-regulatory body, to take down as many as five of its advertisements which were found to be violating the advertising code for making ambiguous and uncorroborated assertions.
After getting acquired by another Bengaluru-based ed-tech platform BYJU’S in August this year, WhiteHat Jr has been on marketing its brand aggressively.
Targeting parents through their advertisements, examples are being given of their young kids who learnt to code and have been able to reap benefits, which are unlikely at their age, ranging trip to Silicon Valley to meet top scientists and engineers to speaking of "20cr" salary.