PhonePe Private Limited, a Flipkart-owned company, has filed a lawsuit in the Bombay High Court, alleging that Resilient Innovations Pvt Ltd has infringed on their registered trademark ‘PHONEPE.’
Resilient is accused of operating in the same area as PhonePe, providing digital payment services to users via the mobile application ‘PostPe. ‘They alleged that PostPe was infringing on PhonePe’s trademark and passing it off as their own. PhonePe stated in its lawsuit, filed through law firm J. Sagar Associates, that while resistance to PostPe’s trademark registration was pending, Resilient went ahead and launched their mobile application PostPe. “Resilient has violated its legal rights. They have profited illegally at the expense of PhonePe. Resilient has gravely harmed PhonePe’s economic potential and further diluted and degraded its image by continuing in this illegal and unlicensed manner “According to the plea,
The PostPe and PhonePe marks are visually, structurally, and phonetically indistinguishable, according to the submission. PhonePe further claimed that it would suffer irreparable harm and injury as a result of the dilution of its exclusive property rights and goodwill in its trademarks. Additionally, they stated that “Only monetary compensation would be insufficient to compensate for the ongoing harm caused by infringement. There is no reason why Resilient should be allowed to continue using the PhonePe marks, either in equity or under the law “.
The suit’s interim application for urgent relief was filed before vacation court Justice SJ Kathawalla. The case was postponed until next week when the Court reopens following the Diwali holiday. This is the second time PhonePe has gone to the High Court to seek protection for its registered trademark against the same corporation. Last month, PhonePe launched a lawsuit against Resilient, alleging that PostPe had infringed on the ‘-pe‘ suffix.
The High Court noted that the two parties had been at odds over suffix trademark infringement in the past, most notably in the Delhi High Court, when PhonePe unsuccessfully sued the defendants over the introduction of service under the mark ‘BHARATPE. ‘After noting that PhonePe had no registration of the word mark PE per se, the Bombay High Court refused to give relief. It has a Devanagari word PE on the label or device mark.
“If the Plaintiff does not have exclusivity over the mark PE, I do not see how it can claim exclusivity in paragraph after paragraph of the Plaint,” the Court stated in an order dated October 22, 2021. While the order was being dictated, PhonePe had asked for permission to withdraw the complaint and submit a new one that would limit the claim to mark PhonePe as a whole. Resilient was also given permission to “rely on the current plaint and the order in objection to fresh suit to allege that PhonePe has taken various views at different times and in different courts,” according to the Court.
Following the withdrawal of the previous litigation, PhonePe filed the current suit, limiting the claim to the mark PHONEPE in its entirety. For PhonePe, Senior Advocate Venkatesh Dhond appeared alongside attorneys Hiren Kamod, Monish Jha, Anjali A, Yohaann Limathwalla, and Ahsan Allana, who were briefed by JSA. Resilient was represented by senior counsel Gaurav Pachnanda and advocate Ashish Kamat, who were briefed by Khaitan & Co.