With recent announcement of Demonetisation, digital payment wallets have gained immense traction and among the likes of FreeCharge and MobiKwik, PayTM seems to be leading the market with a majority.
Interestingly, while Demonetisation was announced on November 8th, 2016, PayPal opposed registration of PayTM’s trademark on November 18th, 2016.
More interestingly, PayTM’s trademark application was at final step of registration and was advertised on July 18th, 2016 for acceptance, which marked the beginning of statutory period of four months within which said trademark could be opposed. Hence, PayPal filed for trademark opposition on the very last day of expiry of said period, i.e. on November 18th, 2016.
In its complaint for trademark opposition, PayPal contends that its brand name has been registered and used globally since 1999.
Considering the above dates, it is difficult to digest that a leading global brand (with battery of trademark lawyers worldwide) like PayPal waited till the very last day to file for trademark opposition.
Or, is this a strategy by PayPal to hamper PayTM’s efforts to cash in on demonetisation with advertising blitz of Rs. 600 crore (US$14.7 million) allocation? One has to wait and watch how each party fights this opposition.
In the notice for trademark opposition (full copy) filed with Indian trademark office, PayPal has opposed registration of PayTM’s trademark on numerous grounds, primarily stating that PayTM is deceptively and confusingly similar to PayPal and possesses similar colour scheme, which is likely to cause confusion and deception among the consumers. The proceedings have been initiated on 18th November 2016 and further steps are presently awaited.
In future, these proceedings will go by the procedure or will be withdrawn after mutual settlement. Let’s see what happens.
In past, similar issues cropped up with Zomato (formerly named as Foodiebay), when eBay initiated trademark opposition proceedings against Foodiebay. Those proceedings never reached next step after initial phase, as Zomato rebranded itself within days of filing of trademark opposition by eBay.
Proceedings are general, but PayPal is trying to play monopoly over the word ‘Pay’, which is generic in the sector of financial services, and numerous brands use the word Pay as part of their complete brand. If one brands get the majority, it won’t be good for the market.
Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at info (at) techcorplegal (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter. This article was originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse and was republished with permission.
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Featured Image Credits: PayTM