PayPal Wants Paytm To Change Its Trademark

PayPal claims Paytm’s logo is ‘deceptively similar’.  

(Source: BloombergQuint)
(Source: BloombergQuint)

Global online payment company, PayPal Inc has filed a notice with the Indian trademark office against Alibaba-backed digital payments and e-commerce company Paytm, accusing the homegrown company of copying the trademark which is ‘deceptively and confusingly’ similar to that of PayPal’s.

In a complaint dated November 18, ten days after the government of India announced the demonetisation scheme, the California based company had opposed Paytm’s application for trademark rights.

The applicant (Paytm) has slavishly adopted the two-tone blue colour scheme of the opponent (PayPal) in its entirety. The first syllable in each mark is in dark blue colour and the second syllable in a light blue colour,” the complaint read.

The complaint added that both the trademarks begin with the term ‘PAY’, which consumers tend to remember more than the second syllable, adding that the names are also similar in length.

“There is no reason for the applicant (Paytm) to adopt the identical colours and colour scheme other than to take advantage of the reputation the Opponent (PayPal) has built up into this combination in connection with its popular services,”
PayPal said in the complaint. 

PayPal added that it has been using its trademark across several countries since 1999, while Paytm had filed an application for trademark rights in July 2012 and advertised it on July 18 this year.

PayPal and Paytm did not respond to an email query seeking comments.

However, it is the timing of PayPal’s objection which raises eyebrows. “It is surprising that PayPal only responded on the last day of the four-month period given to oppose the application,” patent attorney and tech corporate lawyer Rahul Dev told BloombergQuint in a telephonic interaction.

Demonetisation has brought these payment gateways to the limelight and the value of the brand name has shot up, he said. Companies like PayU may also face the same resistance when they go for trademark registration, he added.

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, Principal Patent & Trademark Attorney, Tech Corp Group

Paytm has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s demonetisation drive and now has more than 164 million users on the platform, recording 7 million transactions in a single day.