BharatPe has filed six cancellation actions against multiple registrations for the “PE” device mark in the Devanagari script by PhonePe
Recently PhonePe withdrew an injunction plea against BharatPe filed with the Bombay High Court
Their legal tussle dates back to 2018 when PhonePe sent a legal notice to BharatPe seeking the removal of the suffix
The fight for the “pe” suffix seems to have intensified. Delhi NCR based fintech unicorn BharatPe has filed six cancellation actions with the Delhi HC’s Intellectual Property Division against multiple registrations held by PhonePe for the “Pe” suffix in the Devanagari script.
The development comes days after PhonePe withdrew its injunction plea with the Bombay High Court against BharatPe’s usage of the ‘Pe’ suffix for its newly launched ‘buy now pay later’ offering, postpe.
The B2B focused fintech startup BharatPe recently launched a “buy now pay later” app under the trademark “postpe”.
BharatPe spokesperson said, “Purity of the trademarks register is in the larger interest of the public at large. By taking on a trade mark for the “PE” device mark in Devanagari Script in classes relating to payment services in a country like India, where Hindi is the primary language of the masses, PhonePe has acted against the larger public interest, and Resilient is committed to undoing this.”
“PhonePe has been asserting its registration for the “PE” device mark in Devanagari Script as being equivalent to the English word “Pe” / “Pay”. This was the same position taken by PhonePe in a recent case filed by it before the Bombay High Court against Resilient’s use of the mark “postpe”, which stands withdrawn at present,” the spokesperson added.
Earlier this year, Delhi High Court had dismissed an injunction plea by Walmart-owned PhonePe against BharatPe for the use of ‘Pe’ as a suffix in the company’s brand name.
Last week, PhonePe approached the Bombay High Court seeking an injunction to restrain its rival Resilient Innovations (BharatPe) from ‘misusing’ PhonePe’s registered trademarks by using and promoting the marks ‘PostPe’ / ‘postpe’.
However, to address certain observations made by the court in the pleadings filed by PhonePe, the suit was withdrawn with liberty to file a fresh suit challenging the adoption of mark PostPe/postpe by Resilient Innovations.
“Even though both the Delhi High Court and the Bombay High Court have prima facie found PhonePe’s assertion to be incorrect, Resilient has filed these cancellation actions so as to provide a level-playing field to all stakeholders in the digital payment space once and for all,” BharatPe spokesperson said.
The legal tussle between the two fintech players over trademarks date back to 2018 when PhonePe sent a legal notice to BharatPe seeking the removal of the suffix.
Launched in 2015 by Sameer Nigam, Burzin Engineer and Rahul Chari, PhonePe offers a digital payments platform where consumers can send and receive money, recharge mobile, DTH, data cards, pay at stores, make utility payments and more. In 2016, ecommerce major Flipkart acquired the platform.
BharatPe was founded in 2018 by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani. It entered the unicorn club in August after it bagged $370 Mn in a Series E equity round led by Tiger Global at a valuation of $2.85 Bn.