Indian legal specialists indicated pointed to a shade of unhealthy competition in global payments organizations PayPal’s opposition to local digital wallet leader Paytm over the latter’s trademark application to enroll its logo.
PayPal, California based company, founded by Silicon Valley bigwigs such as Elon Musk and Peter Thiel in 1998, enrolled a notice of opposition with the registrar of trademarks on November 18, challenging that there were some similarities between the logos of the two brands.
The objection came on the last day of the four-month timespan for registering opposition to six-year-old Paytm’s commercial of its trademark application, filed on July 18.
“Paytmhas been around for some time now and PayPal could have objected to the use of the mark by initiating legal proceedings. This wasn’t done. Whilst filing of oppositions is fairly normal in the industry, in the present case, it may also be a competitive move,” said Samuel Niranjan, counsel, intellectual property, at law firm Khaitan & Co.
“It seems that considering the popularity of Paytm recently (thanks to demonetisation and the government’s push for digital payments), PayPal may have decided to file an opposition on the last day of the deadline,” he also stated.
Vaibhav Parikh, who is a partner at Nishith Desai Associates, said PayPal’s move seemed to come from competitiveness.
When trying to reach out to the lawyer representing PayPal in the matter, he did not comment. Paytm and PayPal India said they don’t want to comment in this matter.
PayPal’s main conflict in the notice, which is accessible online, is that the mark sought by Paytm is “deceptively and confusingly similar” to PayPal’s. It blamed the Alibaba-backed Indian company of “slavishly adopting the two-tone blue colour scheme of its logo.”
It also goes ahead to say in its notice that both marks begin with the term ‘Pay’, referring that consumers tend to remember the primary mark more than the second syllable and that it could cause “a likelihood of confusion.”
“Personally, I find PayPal’s argument difficult to stand the test of law as no single party can own exclusive rights to use the generic word ‘pay’ in the sector pertaining to financial services. If you review the brand names like ‘PayPal’, ‘Paytm’, ‘PayU’, etc, these can be clearly differentiated by their customers without much confusion” said patent and trademark attorney at Tech Corp Legal, Rahul Dev.
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Sameeksha Bhardwaj, From ITvoir News Desk