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Bombay HC rejects PhonePe’s interim injunction plea against BharatPe’s postpe

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The High Court of Bombay has turned down an interim injunction application filed by PhonePe against BharatPe’s buy now, pay later service ‘postpe’.

“It is settled law that when the applicant / plaintiff has failed to make out a prima facie case in its favour, the aspects of grave and irreparable loss in the absence of interim reliefs and balance of convenience pale into insignificance,” said the Bombay HC in its order, also seen by Entrackr.

Earlier, PhonePe argued that the term “PhonePe” had become popular in the public domain as sponsored IPL 2019 and World Cup 2019, along with sponsorship for IPL 2021. The company also argued that it had wide reach in the country with more than 350 million registered users at the time of filing of the suit in 2021.

The Bombay HC’s ruling is part of PhonePe’s long legal tussle against BharatPe over the usage of the suffix ‘pe’.

In September 2019, PhonePe had dragged BharatPe to the Delhi High Court over the use of the suffix ‘Pe’. In April this year, the court rejected PhonePe’s plea to issue an injunction order against BharatPe, noting that the former’s claim that the ‘Pe’ suffix in its trademark had acquired distinctiveness to the extent that consumers would invariably associate ‘Pe’ with the company was a “matter of trial”. 

According to Entrackr’s sources, insuretech startup BimaPe, which too rebranded itself as Verak also faced similar legal challenges for using the suffix Pe, which was a key reason behind the rebranding.

According to Entrackr’s sources, insuretech startup BimaPe, which recently rebranded itself as Verak also faced legal challenges from a fintech company over using the suffix Pe, which was a key reason behind the rebranding. However, Entrackr couldn’t ascertain which company the legal challenge came from.

As expected, BharatPe expressed optimism over the latest verdict by Bombay HC. 

“This is another jolt to PhonePe’s attempts to monopilize the word “Pe”, which is a misspelling of the word “Pay”. There have been numerous attempts by PhonePe to try and get an interim injunction on the brands of RIPL,” a BharatPe spokesperson said in a statement. 

Trademark disputes aren’t new in India or abroad. Just last week, the Delhi High  Court ordered consultancy firm Google Enterprises Pvt Ltd and its associated entities to pay Rs 10 lakh in damages to global internet firm Google LLC for misusing the latter’s trademark. Zomato-backed Blinkit is also facing a similar trademark suit from a Bengaluru-based IT firm Blinkhit Private Limited. 

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