BharatPe moves Delhi HC to cancel PhonePe’s trademark registration

The battle for the ‘Pe’ suffix between BharatPe and PhonePe has intensified with the former now filing a fresh petition in the Delhi high court to cancel the trademark registrations held by PhonePe. 

Resilient Innovations Pvt Ltd., the parent company which owns Delhi-based financial services platform, BharatPe, on Thursday filed six cancellation actions against multiple registrations held by PhonePe Pvt. Ltd. for the “Pe” device mark in Devanagari script before the Intellectual Property Division of the Delhi high court.  

BharatPe was represented by the legal firm SIM AND SAN, Attorneys at Law.

This comes just 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.  

Mint reported on October 24 that PhonePe was looking to go on full-trial and file a fresh case, with the Bombay high court against BharatPe, this week. 

“Purity of the trademarks register is in the larger interest of the public at large. By taking on a trademark 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. Resilient (BharatPe) is committed to undoing this,” said a BharatPe spokesperson related to the legal action on Thursday. 

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

“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in a recent case filed by it before the Bombay High Court against Resilient’s use of the mark “postpe”, which stands withdrawn at present. 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 once and for all,” added a BharatPe spokesperson.  

PhonePe did not respond to Mint’s queries on the matter until press time. 

Earlier in June, PhonePe withdrew its injunction plea with the Delhi high court and proceeded with a full trial against BharaPe that very month on the use of ‘Pe’ in the latter’s brand name and marketing channels.

The next hearing in the Delhi high court is expected to be around December, Mint reported on Sunday citing sources.  

“In order to protect such bonafide players in the market, Resilient decided to nip the issue at the bud by filing these cancellation actions. It is desirable to promote healthy competition in this space, and not merely look at personal gains, which has become the second nature of companies like PhonePe. We hope that PhonePe will at least now get a reality check, and put an end to its ill-conceived and ill-motivated agenda in the Indian market,” added the BharaPe spokesperson.  

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