Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Phonepe withdraws plea, to go ahead with full trial
BENGALURU: Digital payments firm Phonepe has withdrawn its injunction plea against Bharatpe over the use of the suffix ‘Pe’ as it prepares to take on the latter in a full trial expected to start in July.
After the Delhi high court dismissed Phonepe’s interim injunction plea in April, the company moved a division bench to seek relief.
However, it has now withdrawn its injunction plea. In its latest hearing on June 1, Phonepe’s senior counsel told the division bench that it wants to dispose of the injunction suit.
“After some arguments, learned senior counsel for the appellant (Phonepe) does not wish to press the present appeal. He, however, prays for the expeditious disposal of the suit. Keeping in view of the aforesaid limited prayer, we dispose of the present appeal by directing the learned Single Judge to expedite the hearing and disposal of the suit. We further direct that none of the parties shall unnecessarily take an adjournment in the proceedings before the learned Single Judge,” said the recent court order.
Phonepe had filed a commercial lawsuit against Bharatpe, alleging violation of its trademark and claiming exclusivity on the ‘Pe’ suffix in May 2019 at the Delhi high court (HC).
The firm was also seeking an injunction against Bharatpe over the use of ‘Pe’ in its brand and app names, with the Delhi HC. Both firms have been arguing against the use of ‘Pe’ since 2018, even before the lawsuit.
“We had filed for an injunction almost two years ago, to get temporary reprieve until the main trial started. Given that the injunction ruling took two year to come, it had partially lost its meaning in time anyways because Bharatpe continues to actively plagiarize our mark ‘Pe’. Our main recourse was always going to be decided in trial,” a Phonepe spokesperson told Mint.
While dismissing the injunction plea on 15 April, the single bench said that there was insufficient evidence to conclusively say the ‘Pe’ suffix would be “indelibly associated” in the public consciousness with Phonepe’s services.
Mint has seen a copy of the latest court order.
“I had hoped that after last month’s well-reasoned judgment by Hon’ble Delhi high court, Sameer Nigam, founder and CEO of Phonepe, would have seen the writing on the wall and not proceeded with this futile litigation but he still chose to file an appeal which was rightfully not entertained by the Division Bench. They were ultimately forced to withdraw the appeal petition bringing down curtains to the injunction proceedings once for all. We at Bharatpe have bigger battles to fight on the neo-banking side,” said Ashneer Grover, co-founder and chief executive officer at Bharatpe.
Grover added that it would have been a travesty of justice if Phonepe had been allowed to monopolise the Hindi word ‘Pe’.
Bharatpe was represented by senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Rajiv Nayar, along with Mohit Goel and Sidhant Goel.