Government-operated India Post has reportedly sent a notice to digital payments and ecommerce company Paytm over the unsanctioned use of the term “postcard.” On the eve of Raksha Bandhan, the Noida-headquartered company launched a new money gifting product dubbed as Paytm Postcards.
The notice, which was sent by the Department of Posts to Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, stated that India Post currently has the exclusive right to use the word “postcard,” as per IPO Act rules and regulations.
Commenting on the development, Assistant Director General at India Post, Rahul Kaushik, said, “It is hereby intimated that the use of word Postcard is the sole prerogative of India Post as per the IPO Act and established rules and regulations. Hence, the usage of the word Postcard is an infringement of the terms and conditions of the provisions of rules and guidelines.”
An email query sent to Paytm did not elicit any response till the time of publication.
So, What Is Paytm Postcards?
Paytm Postcards was unveiled during this year’s Raksha Bandhan as a digital version of the “shagun” that allows friends, family, and even employers to gift money during special occasions like weddings or anniversaries and also festivals like Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Pongal, Ganesh Chaturthi or Durga Puja.
In China, Paytm’s largest investor Alibaba offers a similar money gifting service, as does Tencent’s WeChat app.
The money gifting product was launched on August 6 in a blogpost. Paytm stated, “Given that millions living away from family and friends use our instant money transfer facility to send money to their loved ones during festivals, we wanted to enhance this experience by enabling them to add a personal touch to their gift money. That’s why this Rakhi we’ve launched Paytm Postcards, a digital version of shagun that can be customised with messages based on the occasion and sent instantly to Paytm users across India.”
The Paytm Postcards service can be accessed via the Paytm app. All users need to do is click on the “Send a Postcard” option and specify the amount they wish to transfer. They will also have to add the receiver’s mobile number and the customised message. As stated in the blogpost, the money gifting facility is available at a zero transaction fee.
Run-In With India Post And Past Troubles Of Paytm
In August 2017, digital wallet Paytm got caught in the crossfire between Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and Chinese investors. As part of its anti-China protests, the association urged people to stop using Paytm as it is backed by the Chinese investor Alibaba.
In December last year, PayPal contested the registration of Paytm’s trademark, claiming that it is “deceptively and confusingly similar to the opponent’s earlier trademark inasmuch as the applicant has slavishly adopted the two-tone blue colour scheme of the opponent in its entirety.” PayPal’s trademark infringement case was ultimately dismissed by the government.
In April 2016, Paytm made headlines for filing a lawsuit against Snapdeal-owned Unicommerce for accessing confidential business data on its (Paytm’s) ecommerce platform via the sellers on this platform. Soon afterwards, the Delhi High Court ordered Unicommerce to not use any data or information derived from the sellers of Paytm.
Indian Startup: A Plenitude Of Copyright Infringement Issues
The last two years have been rife with multiple copyright infringement issues and lawsuits in the Indian startup world. In June 2017, Amazon’s biggest seller and JV Cloudtail India acquired an injunction from the Delhi High Court against telecom technology company Excel Telesonic. At the time, Excel Telesonic was asked to stop using the alleged “deceptively similar name” – ‘Cloudtele’.
Earlier in March, Ola was embroiled in an image copyright infringement case with a Bengaluru-based designer. During April last year, ecommerce giant Flipkart filed a case against a “copycat” firm FlipkartDiscounts, a Madhya Pradesh-based company which was providing several discount listings on its site, in addition to directing consumers to various ecommerce portals including Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and Paytm.
In March 2016, Palo Alto-based design and decor company Houzz sent a legal notice to Bengaluru-based Houzify, claiming “deceptive similarity” between the trademark Houzz and Houzify/Housify.
The recent run-in with the government-operated India Post will likely make it more difficult for the money gifting service, Paytm Postcards, to gain traction among Indian users.
(The development was reported by ET)