PhonePe: PhonePe, BharatPe settle legal dispute over ‘Pe’

Walmart-backed digital payments firm PhonePe and New Delhi-based fintech startup BharatPe have settled a five-year-long legal dispute over the usage of ‘Pe’ (pronounced as Pay) as a suffix.

In a joint statement on Sunday, both companies said they have withdrawn all trademark oppositions against each other, facilitating the registration of their respective marks.

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“This is a positive development for the industry. I appreciate the maturity and professionalism shown by the management of both sides, working closely to resolve all outstanding legal issues and moving ahead to focus their energy and resources in building robust digital payment ecosystems,’’ said Rajnish Kumar, chairman of BharatPe Board.

The conflict began in 2018 when PhonePe issued a legal notice to BharatPe, asking the latter to stop using ‘Pe’ in Devanagari script in their brand name. In 2019, PhonePe took further legal action by filing a plea in the Delhi High Court, seeking an injunction against BharatPe’s use of the ‘Pe’ suffix.

“I am glad that we have reached an amicable resolution in this matter. This outcome will benefit both companies to move forward and focus our collective energy on growing the Indian fintech industry as a whole,” said Sameer Nigam, founder and CEO of PhonePe.

In 2021, PhonePe had also moved the Bombay High Court against BharatPe’s holding company Resilient Innovations for using the suffix for its Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) offering PostPe. However, this copyright infringement plea by PhonePe against BharatPe was dismissed by the court.

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At the time of dispute between the two companies, cofounder Ashneer Grover was at the helm of affairs at BharatPe. He is no longer involved with the company’s daily affairs.


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