Too Close for Comfort? PayPal Sues India’s Paytm over Logo Similarities
Growth brings the fierce attention of competitors, a lesson that India-based online commerce platform Paytm is learning. U.S.-based PayPal reportedly has filed a copyright suit against the firm, alleging that the blue color scheme of its logo, along with the fact that “pay” is the first word of the company’s name, is deceptive, according to eMarketer.
The suit comes amid significant growth for Paytm and its competitors in India, with digital transaction rates in India increasing as much as 1,000 percent since Nov. 9, when the country’s prime minister took out of circulation old 500 (US$7) and 1,000 (US$15) rupee notes. Paytm is emerging as a leader in Indian digital transactions, with more than 100 million users and investment from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial.
Observers quoted in the Indian press this month have wondered if the suit represents a tactical move by PayPal to put a hurdle in front of a competitor. “Whilst filing of oppositions is fairly normal in the industry, in the present case it may also be a competitive move,” Samuel Niranjan, an intellectual property lawyer with the law firm Khaitan & Co. told the Economic Times. Neither PayPal or Paytm offered comment by press time.
No matter the reason, more consumers in India are going digital to make purchases and perform other transactions, according to research from Google and A.T. Kearney. By 2020, payment via mobile wallets will account for 15 percent of digital transactions in that country, up from 8 percent now. Cash on delivery, meanwhile, will decrease to 45 percent from 57 percent. Debit card payments will increase to to 17 percent from 15 percent; credit cards to 13 percent from 11 percent; and online bank transactions to 10 percent from 9 percent.