Walmart-backed PhonePe, which had filed a lawsuit against New Delhi-based BharatPe claiming trademark rights over the suffix, has withdrawn an injunction plea in the Delhi High Court and instead sought a speedy disposal of the main lawsuit.
Trial on the matter is expected to start in July.
PhonePe had filed an injunction plea before a division bench of the Delhi High Court after a single judge bench denied it last month.
But now it has told the court it doesn’t wish to press the present appeal on injunction but wants an “expeditious disposal of the suit”, as per a court order.
“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,” the division bench order said.
The court clarified that it “has not examined the present appeal on merits (and) controversy that may arise in future between the appellant (PhonePe) and third parties shall be decided in accordance with law and facts of that case”.
Responding to the order, BharatPe cofounder and CEO Ashneer Grover claimed PhonePe’s case was “never a case on merit”.
“I had hoped that after last month’s well-reasoned judgment by Delhi High Court, Sameer Nigam (PhonePe cofounder) would have seen the writing on the wall and not proceed 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. I again urge Sameer with utmost humility to build as against fighting,” Grover said in a statement.
A spokesperson of PhonePe said the court has “simply directed an expedient trial hearing of our lawsuit where the main matter will finally be settled”.
“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 years to come, it had partially lost its meaning in time anyways because BharatPe continues to actively plagiarise our mark ‘Pe’,” the person said. “Our main recourse was always going to be decided in trial. To that end, we are very happy that the court itself has directed that the matter needs to be heard on merit at a trial that is to start expeditiously.”
While Grover in his statement said he was extending a hand of friendship to PhonePe to withdraw the suit, PhonePe said there is “no question of requesting a settlement” as it is confident it will “win the main trial”.
PhonePe has claimed trademark rights over ‘Pe’ being used in company name in English as well as in Hindi – both in text and graphic description. It had sent legal notices to BharatPe, which later changed its logo even as the dispute landed in Delhi High Court.
PhonePe is a consumer-focused payments firm but competes with BharatPe for merchant payments on Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
In September last year, BharatPe
took a swipe at PhonePe and Paytm. It distributed flyers and pamphlets to merchants showing Paytm with Chinese flag in a reference to Alibaba investment in the firm, PhonePe with US flag, and BharatPe with Indian flag. There was a similar messaging around Amazon Pay and Google Pay, too, as they are based out of the US.
Meanwhile, PhonePe is also in the middle of an
intense legal battle over its proposed acquisition of homegrown mobile platform Indus OS, as reported by ET first last month.