PhonePe files lawsuit against BharatPe over trademarked ‘Pe’

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The two leading UPI payment companies- PhonePe and BharatPe- have taken the matter to the Delhi High Court over ‘Pe’ suffix used by the latter claimed to be trademarked by PhonePe app.

The Walmart-owned Flipkart’s PhonePe, launched in 2016, issued a lawsuit against the Delhi-based firm BharatPe in May this year. Amit Sibal, senior advocate Kapil Sibal’s son, is representing PhonePe, recently valued at $7 billion by Morgan Stanley. BharatPe has surfaced as one of the fastest-growing merchant payment firms, over the last nine months.

According to reports by TOI, the court did not grant the request on PhonePe’s original appeal and has fixed the next hearing on 9th October 2019. Launched by Ashneer Grover and Shashvat Nakrani, BharatPe has raised more than $65 million in the last six months from investors like US-based Ribbit Capital and Hong Kong-based Steadview Capital. According to the website, BharatPe is “a single interface for all UPI apps such as PayTM, PhonePe, Google Pay, BHIM, Mobikwik, Freecharge, True Caller, and 100 other UPI apps.”


Why is ‘Pe’ suffix critical for PhonePe?

PhonePe first raised the issue in August 2018 and sent a legal notice to BharatPe asking it for the removal of the suffix ‘Pe’. In response, the Delhi-based firm changed its logo and color scheme, which did not agree with the terms put up by PhonePe. Therefore, the company decided to take the matter into the hands of the court. The dispute over the two-lettered suffix ‘Pe’ is very obvious. As an application that allows its consumers and clients to carry money transactions on the phone, ‘Pe’ suffix translates simply to ‘on’ in Hindi and can be read as ‘pay’, which makes it a perfect asset for the company making it the app for ‘payments’ ‘on the phone’.

PhonePe and BharatPe, both, are the leading players on the UPI (Unified Payments Interface) platform. According to the UPI data sourced from industry executives, BharatPe solely processed peer-to-merchant transactions to a valuation of $76 million in the last month on UPI. PhonePe, on the other hand, claimed that it did merchant transactions worth $1 billion. 

The UPI transactions reach recorded an 11.6% month over month growth in the number of transaction in August, registering 918.3 million transactions worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore.

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A passionate writer with bachelor’s in the field of English & Journalism. Other than being a bibliophile, some of her hobbies are travelling, photography and poetry.

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