GOJEK Avoided Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

The Supreme Court of the Republic in a recent decision rejected a cassation from an individual named Hasan Azhari who sued GoJek, an Indonesian multi-service platform and digital payment technology company, for an alleged copyright infringement. Gojek started in 2009 as a call center for connecting consumers to two-wheeled courier delivery or ride-hailing services, and rapidly developed after launching its mobile application in 2015.

Hasan Azhari on the other hand claimed that he had come up with the idea of providing two-wheeled ride-hailing services through online application since 2008 – one year earlier than the start of Gojek – albeit limited to providing services only around Bintaro, a suburb in southern Jakarta area.  Hasan based his claim on five copyrighted works that he authored, consisting of three papers and two computer software.

Hasan filed his lawsuit to the Commercial Court of Central Jakarta in November 2022 against PT GOTO Gojek Tokopedia, Tbk. – the current holding company of Gojek after merging in 2021 with Tokopedia, another Indonesian unicorn startup operating as e-commerce marketplace platform – alleging that Gojek had infringed his copyright on the five works by copying substantial ideas of the works concerning online system for ordering two-wheeled ride hailing services. In the lawsuit, Hasan sought to claim damages compensation on the basis of his loss of potential income in the amount of ten billion rupiahs (+/- USD 681,000), as well as on the basis of the defendant’s unlawful income from unauthorized use of Hasan’s copyrights in a fantastic amount of almost forty-two trillion rupiahs (+/- USD 2,6 billion).

On May 2023, Commercial Court of South Jakarta decided not in Hasan’s favour as the panel of judges sided with a number of expert opinion as delivered in the proceeding that a copyrighted work is not infringed when the ideas expressed in the work are implemented by others, and accordingly the plaintiff simply could not bring enough evidences to support his claim and prove his allegation.

Hasan later filed a cassation to the Supreme Court, as the only chance of appeal for a lawsuit concerning copyright as well as other intellectual properties. The panel of cassation judges consisting of Chair Judge I Gusti Agung Sumanatha along with Judges Panji Widagdo and Rahmi Mulyanti; who later decided to uphold the Commercial Court’s decision and refused to allow Hasan’s lawsuit.


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