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Delhi HC rejects BharatPe petitions against PhonePe’s ‘Pe’ trademark

The Intellectual Property Division of the Delhi high court has rejected the petition filed by merchant fintech BharatPe, which sought to cancel the multiple copyrights of arch-rival PhonePe on the ‘Pe’ suffix.

This comes after Resilient Innovations Pvt Ltd., the parent company which owns Delhi-based financial services platform, BharatPe, filed six cancellation actions against multiple registrations held by PhonePe Pvt. Ltd. in the last week of October, for the ‘Pe’ device mark in Devanagari script before the Intellectual Property Division of the Delhi high court.

“In view of provisions of Section 124, it is clear that the present petitions could not have been filed without the court framing an issue regarding the validity of the Trademark in (CS (COMM) 292/2019, as held by the Supreme Court in Patel Field Marshal Agencies,” said the court order on November 11.

Currently, PhonePe and BharatPe are engaged in two different lawsuits over the ‘Pe’ suffix.

Earlier in June, PhonePe withdrew its injunction plea with the Delhi high court and proceeded with a full trial against BharatPe the same month, over the use of ‘Pe’ suffix in the latter’s brand name.

In October, the Bengaluru-based fintech company filed a separate lawsuit against BharatPe’s usage of the suffix for its ‘buy now pay later’ offering, ‘PostPe’.

“The Hon’ble Delhi High Court has dismissed the petitions filed by Resilient Innovations (BharatPe) seeking cancelation and removal of entries pertaining to some of PhonePe’s registered trademarks from the Register of TradeMarks. These petitions were frivolous and baseless and nothing more than a poor attempt to divert the court’s attention from its own misuse and infringement of PhonePe’s trademarks,” said PhonePe in a reply to Mint’s queries.

“Being in the similar line of business, it is imperative that the earlier use and substantive meaning acquired by Pe in PhonePe is accepted and cannibalizing PhonePe’s large customer base by deceptively similar marks and infringement be stopped immediately. We will continue to earnestly press the other matters filed by us before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court and the Hon’ble Bombay High Court against Resilient Innovations’ dishonest adoption of the ‘BharatPe’ and ‘PostPe’ marks to create brand confusion in the digital Payments category,” added PhonePe.

Both firms have been arguing over the use of ‘Pe’ since 2018, even before the lawsuits.

“The Hon’ble Delhi High Court has not held the cancellation actions to be “frivolous or baseless”. As a matter of fact, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has not said anything on the merits of the cancellation actions. On a procedural aspect, the Hon’ble Court has only directed Resilient to adopt a different route to file these cancellation actions, and Resilient is exploring its legal remedies in this regard. It is again unfortunate that PhonePe has misquoted from the order of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court as regards the conduct of Resilient,” said a BharatPe spokesperson, in response to Mint’s queries.

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