Advocates and IP Attorneys

IP strategy– an essential component for startup success

Startups are the new business whose success is primarily dependent on innovative ideas and products (e.g. inventions, models, designs, products, trademarks). Therefore, it is important for companies to systematically manage and protect these ideas. These ideas should be registered so that they enable you to protect your company’s competitive edge and can play a crucial role in a company’s success story. In fact, this is one of the reasons for the distinctive global success of new (e.g. google) and old business (e.g. Coca-Cola) of the world.

Unfortunately, many startups miss the right kind of intellectual property strategy in their foundation. Lack of awareness about intellectual property related laws and is one of the most common reasons. As IP is rarely taught as a general curriculum in school and college it has been practiced by a selected number of lawyers and business persons. Due to the unawareness, many startups are unwilling to invest in IP protection which backfires them in long run.

The benefit of IPs protection for startups

You can defend your competitive space for the long-term: No innovation is unique for a long time, there is always somebody competing to innovate the same or copying the invention for their benefit. Protecting your inventions (e.g. product/process or improved product/process) by a patent right or trade secret can provide your business a competitive advantage for a long time as it prevents others from copying, manufacturing, selling, or importing your invention without your permission.

Trademarks/service mark provides visibility in crowded markets: Startups can distinguish their products/services from those of their competitors and harness economic benefit by a guarantee of consistent quality. For this, they need to protect the product/service using a trademark that prevents misleading/improper use of the same or similar product by others providing economic benefits to the startups.

Acquire knowledge at an early stage

So, when is the right time to get knowledge about IPR for a startup, and where you can get them? To avoid the economic loss of your invention, it would be good to reach an IP expert at an early stage of your business development. Consulting an IP professional at the idea stage of your business or invention can help you to find out what types of products are already available in the market and can direct your invention or business program towards more specific and unique products. Startups can utilize the opportunity of free consultations provided by some of the IP firms to protect their interest. For example, Solstice Attorneys provides 1 free consultation for its client and Startups can utilize such opportunities to enhance their IP skills related to their business.  Startups can also utilize the free resources available at website of national (e.g. IP India, and international agencies (e.g. World Intellectual Property Organization,, European Patent Office, dedicated for publication, protection, and promotion of IP.
Further, the employee can attend events like the IP evening, reads blogs and books, and participate in webinars to have a basic understanding of the intellectual property. This will bring them one step closer to the goal of finding the right IP piece to strengthen the company’s competitive edge and avoid common IPR pitfalls related to the business strategy of the companies.

PhonePe     Vs    BharatPe

Battle and arguments since the year 2018 between the two leading digital payment companies, PhonePe and BharatPe is not something which people are unaware of. However, the same has been recently in the limelight. The clash between the two was over the term “Pe” suffix. Lately, PhonePe (Plaintiff) which is a part of the Walmart stable filed a lawsuit against BharatPe, owned by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) wherein it has claimed exclusive ad prior rights over the term “Pe”. Additionally, PhonePe has alleged that the term “Pe” has been blatantly used both in English and Hindi with similar graphic representation in BharatPe logo also which amounts to infringement and passing off the services of PhonePe by BharatPe and has thus sought an injunction order against BharatPe.

The Delhi High Court in order to analyse the entire situation pointed out Section 17 (1) of the Trade Marks Act 1999 which clearly states “When a trade mark consists of several matters, its registration shall confer on the proprietor exclusive right to the use of the trade mark as a whole." Further, the Hon’ble Court relied upon Section 17(2) of the Trademark Act, 1999 which says that rights in a label/composite mark are restricted to the mark registered as a whole and not to individual components of the mark, that too when the component in question is a common word.

The Delhi High Court held that both the logos of the two Fintech companies are composite label marks which are entirely different from one another when viewed in entirety and the term “Pe” or PAY” whichever it is, is a generic and descriptive term with no exclusive rights over the same. Further, The Hon’ble Court added that there is a difference between the services provided by both platforms. While PhonePe provides a digital payments and commerce platform that is largely reliant on UPI, BharatPe offers a QR code payments system for merchants using any UPI app. 

The court, therefore, did not find a prima facie case to have been made out of, and refused to grant a temporary injunction. 


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