Grab sued by S’porean company over domain name

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Photo: Facebook screengrab/ Grab

South East Asian ride-hailing giant Grab is currently engaged in a lawsuit with another Singaporean company because of an agreement between the two firms over the Indonesian Internet domain name, “grab.co.id.”

As part of an alleged agreement, 3 Corporate Services was to have facilitated the transfer of the domain name to GrabTaxi Holdings for around S$338,000. The company is now suing Grab for losses and damages, claiming that the ride-hailing company did not hold up its part of the agreement.

TODAY reported that the lawsuit was filed at the High Court in July 2018.

For its part, Grab says that the other firm had attempted to sell it more domain names that contained the name Grab, specifically for the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam, countries where Grab operates. Its legal representatives from Niru & Co LLC allege that 3 Corporate Services had committed cyber-squatting activities, which include registering domain names with the intent of later selling them and making a profit.

It is 3 Corporate Services’ counter-argument that it was Grab Taxi Holdings who attempted to get those domain names from them.

Grab Taxi Holdings claims that 3 Corporate Services tried to gain advantage from a domain that is “identical or confusingly similar to a name, trademark or service mark” which belongs to Grab.

Via telephone call around a year and a half ago, Shawn Heng, the head of partnerships for GrabTaxi Holdings, told the director and sole shareholder of 3 Corporate Services, Mark Ho, that he was interested in purchasing the domain name grab.co.id.

Ho replied that 3 Corporate Services did not register grab.co.id. However, the company could move the domain name to Grab. Another company where Ho is a director, Top 3 Media, registered this domain name via a representative.

In the period that followed, Heng and Ho via messages on WhatsApp discussing the sale of the domain name to Grab.

According to 3 Corporate Services, the companies then proceeded with a written agreement on July 22, 2017, wherein it would procure the domain name from Top 3 Media and transfer it to Grab for around S$338,000.

But by the following September, GrabTaxi Holdings allegedly told 3 Corporate Services that it had no intention of honoring this agreement.

The ride-hailing company said in the documents submitted at court that it had not actually accepted the offer from 3 Corporate Services and that this agreement was made under the condition that the company owned the domain name during the period when the offer was accepted.

3 Corporate Services alleges that this condition had not existed.

Furthermore, according to TODAY, the ride-hailing company is saying that 3 Corporate Services, in partnership with Top 3 Media, registers certain domain names that belong to famous personalities and companies—including “Go-Jek.com.sg”, “Amywinehouse.com.sg”, “ToyotaHarrier.com.sg”, and “f1Auto.sg”, and that they sell these names to them at “extortionate amounts” later on.

3 Corporate Services, represented by Selvam LLC, has denied Grab’s claims. It upholds the company as a branding, website design, and digital marketing firm. Furthermore, it alleges that the Indonesian arm of 3 Corporate Services, named “Grab Indonesia”, started in 2013.

The ride-hailing company branded itself as “Grab” only three years ago.

The trial for this lawsuit is scheduled for June 2019.

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