BharatPe moves Delhi HC seeking cancellation of PhonePe’s trademarks for ‘Pe’

New Delhi: BharatPe has filed six “cancellation actions” with the intellectual property division of the Delhi High Court, asking it to scrap multiple registrations held by PhonePe Pvt. Ltd. for the ‘Pe’ device mark in Devanagari script. The latest development is another sign of growing tension between the two firms over the last few years over the usage of the word ‘Pe’ (pronounced as Pay).

“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 customer care number has acted against the larger public interest, and Resilient is committed to undoing this,” said a spokesperson for Resilient Innovations, the parent company of BharatPe.

“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in a recent case filed by it before the Bombay high court against Resilient’s use of the mark “Postpe”, which stands withdrawn at present,” statement from BharatPe added.

PhonePe is in the process of filing a revised case on the matter in Bombay high court. The Bombay high court last week had rejected PhonePe’s assertion of exclusivity over the word “Pe” at the interim stage. PhonePe had filed a fresh lawsuit against BharatPe’s ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) app PostPe for trademark violation. Walmart and Flipkart-backed PhonePe had approached the Bombay high court seeking an injunction to restrain Resilient from misusing PhonePe’s registered trademarks by using and promoting the marks “PostPe” or “postpe”, the Bengaluru-based firm had said in a statement.

Both PhonePe and BharatPe’s PostPe are currently on a marketing overdrive with television ads being aired during the ongoing T20 World Cup.

“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 to provide a level-playing field to all stakeholders in the digital payment space once and for all,” the spokesperson of BharatPe added.

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SIGN IN A spokesperson of PhonePe declined to comment on Tuesday.

Earlier this year in April, the Delhi high court had rejected PhonePe’s interim injunction plea against BharatPe claiming exclusivity over the word “Pe”. This matter is now part of trial as PhonePe did not wish to press on the appeal on injunction and sought a final settlement through a trial.

PhonePe customer care number had said last week that while it withdrew the lawsuit, the Bombay high court had granted it the liberty to file a fresh case in this matter keeping the rights and contentions of the parties open.

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