The Bombay High Court recently dismissed an application for interim injunction by PhonePe Pvt. Ltd. (“Plaintiff”) against Resilient Innovations Pvt. Ltd. (“Defendant”) from using the mark “postpe” for its alleged similarity with Plaintiff’s PhonePe and Pe Marks. This comes as a fresh setback to the Plaintiff on its claim of exclusive right on PhonePe and Pe Marks.
It was the Plaintiff’s case that the Defendant’s adoption and use of the mark “postpe” amounts to infringement of the Plaintiff’s right in its registered PhonePe and Pe Marks and passing-off of the Defendant’s services as the services originating from the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff further claimed that the suffix “Pe” after the word “Phone” in its trademark has colloquial Hindi meaning of “On”, denoting services made available on phones.
The Court disagreed with the Plaintiff and found the rivals marks, the rival services and the target consumers of the rival services are different. The Court also considered Plaintiff’s inconsistency over the meaning of the term Pe with the stand taken before Delhi High Court in a prior infringement suit filed against the Defendant’s Mark “BharatPe”. The Plaintiff in that case asserted that “Pe” is a misspelling of Pay and it refers to payment. The Court, applying the principle of estoppel to this proceeding, held that, the Plaintiff shall not be allowed to make representation and assertions contrary to the ones made in a similar proceeding.
In view of this contradiction and overall dissimilarity of the rival marks and target consumers, the Court denied any interim relief to the Plaintiff.
PhonePe Private Limited Vs. Resilient Innovations Private Limited COMMERCIAL IP SUIT NO.160 OF 2022