Following a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by PhonePe, the Madras High Court temporarily prohibited digital payment app MobilePe and its group firms from providing Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) services.
The two apps’ logos were identical, and Justice M. Sundar found that a prima facie case of “potential fraud” had been established in an interim decision issued on October 19.
The court avoided comparing the two brands side by side by citing an earlier ruling by the Supreme Court in Parle Products (P) Ltd v. JP & Co. Instead, it said that if one were to put themselves in the shoes of an “average intelligent” man, they would see the similarities between the logos of both. In order to remove the MobilePe app’s listing from the Google Play Store and the App Store, respectively, it also sent notices to Google and Apple.
Senior Advocate PS Raman, who represented PhonePe at the hearings, informed the court that his client was the “registrant” or “owner” of the PhonePe trademark. In addition, it was claimed that PhonePe had sent MobilePe a cease-and-desist letter in June of this year. Subsequently, several letters were sent back and forth between the two parties, and it was presumed that MobilePe would not proceed with its trademark registration application. On August 29 of this year, PhonePe learned that MobilePe’s trade registration application had been approved by the authorities; as a result, PhonePe approached the High Court.
According to the Court, a cause for urgent interim relief within the meaning of Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act was prima facie made out in light of the above submissions. However, it also stated that MobilePe’s rights as well as those of the other defendants included in the lawsuit were safeguarded with regard to raising objections. Additionally, it stated that MobilePe might continue to engage in business operations other than those involving UPI and BHIM services, such as wallet recharging.