In the ongoing dispute between PhonePe and BharatPe over the alleged misuse of the term “Pe”, BharatPe said that by withdrawing his injunction from the Bombay High Court, PhonePe had abandoned his claim to exclusivity for the word by consent.
In a court order dated October 22, the Bombay High Court indicated that PhonePe does not have a recording of the word “Pe,” and instead bears a label with the word Devanagari Pe. business line See a copy of the command.
“If the plaintiff (PhonePe) did not have exclusivity on the mark ‘Pe’, I don’t see how he could indirectly claim this exclusivity in paragraph by paragraph of the lawsuit. It is useful to say that the mark of Defendants (BharatPe), as a whole, is close to PostPe, Also taken as a whole.
The court added: “It is quite another matter to take an element of every element, which cannot be an exclusive subject, and then claim injunctions on that basis.”
PhonePe claimed that while the word “Phone” is not unique, the word “Pe” is a distinct and memorable part of its name. She then claimed that the use of the word “Pe” in BharatPe’s new “buy now, pay later” PostPe offer is an infringement.
In response, the court said that “if the law says that the mark must be taken as a whole, one must look at PhonePe as a whole and then put it against PostPe. Then one experiences visual, structural and acoustic similarity.”
‘File a new lawsuit’
In a statement issued by PhonePe last week, the company said that “to address some of the court’s observations in the pleadings brought by PhonePe, the lawsuit was freely withdrawn to file a new lawsuit challenging the adoption of the PostPe/postpe brand by Resilient Innovations. Accordingly, while allowing the lawsuit to be withdrawn, Keeping the rights and claims of the parties open, the esteemed Court has given PhonePe freedom to file a new claim. Accordingly, we will file a new claim and continue to strongly oppose the use of PostPe/postpe tags.”
A PhonePe spokesperson had also previously claimed that “hon’ble Court noted that the PostPe mark adopted by Resilient Innovations is so phonetically, syntactically and visually similar to the PhonePe mark that it also believes PostPe/postpe is a natural evolution of the word PhonePe and emanated from PhonePe.”
In an updated statement issued by BharatPe on Monday, the company challenged the above statement from PhonePe and said: “We were rather surprised by the statements made by PhonePe spokesmen on Friday regarding the outcome of Friday’s proceedings in the Bombay High Court, which did not reflect the correct result. For Friday’s proceedings in court. We earlier declined to comment on the order of the esteemed Bombay Court because the actual wording of the actual order would show how misleading PhonePe’s earlier statements to the press.”
“We will bring to the attention of the Bombay High Court such bad behavior by PhonePe. We are pleased that BharatPe (Resilient) position has once again been justified in relation to the use of PE.
A BharatPe spokesperson added: “We will continue to take all legal remedies at law, not only to defend ourselves against any ill-considered actions taken by PhonePe, but also to protect our rights at law.”
This is not the first legal dispute between BharatPe and PhonePe over trademark infringement. Earlier in 2019, PhonePe filed a case against BharatPe in the Delhi High Court over the alleged misuse of the ‘Pe’ suffix. Later, in April 2021, the Delhi High Court rejected PhonePe’s plea for an injunction against BharatPe. Then PhonePe appealed the Delhi High Court order, but later withdrew it in June.