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RealTime IT News

Will the Real IndiaWorld Please Stand Up?

Satyam Infoway's apparent acquisition of IndiaWorld seems to be running into troubled waters with a US-based company which claims true ownership of IndiaWorld.

"It's only a fake tale," Victor George, managing director of IndiaWorld told this correspondent. "Someone came out of nowhere, used indiaworld.co.in, claimed the original title [and] raked up all the money from another company, Satyam, which is well known in India."

IndiaWorld.com is an Internet services company managed by U.S.-based ASAP Solutions Inc.

According to Victor George, IndiaWorld has not been acquired by the Indian ISP Satyam, a Nasdaq-listed (SIFY) company.

"IndiaWorld and its logo are protected by the United States Federal Trademark as a portal Web site catering to India. IndiaWorld is unaware of any recent acquisition claims made by Satyam Info in India over purchase of [the] IndiaWorld portal site at 115 million US dollars."

"However, IndiaWorld has been fully aware of the trademark infringements in the USA by all of the sites run by the duplicate Indian IndiaWorld and now surprisingly by Satyam Info," he said.

"There's envy for Rajesh Jain, founder of IndiaWorld [www.indiaworld.co.in]," a close friend of Rajesh Jain, founder and chairman of IndiaWorld told this correspondent. "Satyam has taken over indiaworld.co.in for the sake of its contents. The U.S.-based IndiaWorld [is] purposefully creating controversy. Nobody said that Satyam bought out IndiaWorld. What Satyam bought was just indiaworld.co.in."

IndiaWorld, a company with a turnover of Rs1.3 crore (US$300,000) and a profit of Rs25 lakhs (US$58,139) has just been bought for $115 million by Satyam. However, documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicate that Satyam has purchased indiaworld.co.in and its associated portals and not IndiaWorld.com, as been widely reported by the media, said Satyam sources.

But both indiaworld.com and indiaworld.co.in sport identical logos. This, in spite of the fact that they are not mirror sites. Rajesh Jain, managing director of India World said that he had no comments to make. He, however, clarified that "everything was crystal clear as far as both parties (he and Satyam) were concerned." He contended that there were no claims made about selling IndiaWorld.com.

Sources at Satyam said that the company is not interested in the IndiaWorld trademark and is willing to give it up. Reacting to claims by ASAP Solutions on IndiaWorld.com and associated trademarks, Satyam Infoway Managing director R Ramaraj reportedly stated that his company has "nothing to do with IndiaWorld.com."

"Satyam bought IndiaWorld for the 13 dotcom properties including Khel.com and Khoj.com which generate a lot of international traffic," he said. "These sites will give international presence to Satyam's web portal and will be a big advantage for attracting advertising," he added.

Sources said Satyam was aware of the claim by ASAP.

"Our merchant bankers did point this out at the time of the deal. However, our interest was limited to the URL indiaworld.co.in and the other portals under its banner," he added.

However, there is another angle for this story. According to Yacoub Ghassan, chairman and CEO of ASAP Solutions, Rajesh Jain was inducted into the project to develop IndiaWorld.com. Ghassan alleges that the relationship with Jain was terminated because "Rajesh breached our business arrangements and because he pirated U.S. technology know-how."

Subsequent to the relationship being terminated, Jain returned to India and created indiaworld.co.in, he said. Sources close to Jain refused to comment about this allegat