Madras HC rejects PhonePe's trademark appeals against DigiPe | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Madras HC rejects PhonePe's trademark appeals against DigiPe

Aug 22, 2023 10:45 PM IST

The appeals by PhonePe were filed in response to a single-judge order issued in June in a trademark infringement case.

The Madras High Court has handed down a decision dismissing a series of appeals brought forth by the digital payments company PhonePe to restrain DigiPe from using its logo, Bar and Bench reported. These appeals were filed in response to a single-judge order issued in June in a trademark infringement case.

Senior Advocate Sathish Parasaran along with advocates P Giridharan, H Siddharth, and Siddharth Govind appeared for PhonePe. (File)
Senior Advocate Sathish Parasaran along with advocates P Giridharan, H Siddharth, and Siddharth Govind appeared for PhonePe. (File)

Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and PD Audikesavalu presided over the Bench and opted not to intervene in the earlier decision. The Division Bench's ruling rested on two crucial factors — PhonePe failed to demonstrate that its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) app and DigiPe's app served the same customer base and that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that the use of the common element 'Pe' by DigiPe could result in customer confusion.

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The c ourt said, as reported by Bar and Bench, “The defendants have contended that the “DigiPe” application is not useful for any individual customers and the same is confined to merchant establishments and that their target customers are entirely different to the customers of the plaintiff and therefore there is no question of confusion, the defendants on their website have categorically stated that DigiPe App caters to the needs of both merchants and customers.”

Furthermore, the high court noted that the original lawsuit between PhonePe and DigiPe was prepared for trial, allowing PhonePe the opportunity to present evidence to substantiate its claims.

The court also observed PhonePe's inconsistent positions in various high courts concerning copyright infringement cases, especially regarding the use of the term 'Pe.' This raised questions about the credibility of PhonePe's claims.

"In light of the facts and circumstances presented, reconciling the plaintiff's varying stances before different courts becomes challenging. The plaintiff's position before the Trademark Registrar significantly diverged from the stance taken in the current case. Similarly, PhonePe's position in litigation against 'BharatPe' before the Delhi High Court also diverged. In that case, PhonePe admitted that 'CardPe' was the prior user and adopter of the 'Pe' formative mark. It's important to note that PhonePe did not originate the 'Pe' formative mark," the Court's order said.

Senior Advocate Sathish Parasaran along with advocates P Giridharan, H Siddharth, and Siddharth Govind appeared for PhonePe, while Advocate R Sathish Kumar represented DigiPe.

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