Court Refuses Interim Relief To PhonePe In Trademark Infringement Suit, Says Contradictory Stands Taken On Meaning Of ‘Pe’ : Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court passed a order on 29 March, 2023.This was seen in the case of PhonePe Private Limited Vs. Resilient Innovations Private Limited 160 OF 2022 and the case was presided over by Hon’ble Justice MANISH PITALE. 


In this case PhonePe Private Ltd. in the present case claimed that the suffix “Pe” after the word “Phone” in its trademark has the colloquial Hindi meaning “On”. Therefore, PhonePe means services on the phone, it said. However, in a 2019 suit pending before the Delhi High Court for alleged infringement of “PhonePe” through defendant’s mark “BharatPe”, the plaintiff has claimed that the term “Pe” means the action of payment and it was a misspelling of the word “Pay”.


The court held that “Pe” being used to mean “Pay” in the services provided by the parties is common and widely used. It held that whether “Pe” has acquired distinctiveness and secondary meaning to the extent that it is only associated with the plaintiff’s services is a matter of trial. The court did not find any prima facie similarity between “Phone” and “post” – the remaining parts of the rival marks.The court disagreed with the plaintiff’s claim that gullible, uneducated or even educated customers would be confused between the services of the parties. The court further held that goodwill and prior use in itself is not sufficient for interim relief for passing off action, as the plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case that the defendant has copied the central, essential, or fundamental features of its registered trademark.

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