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A PayPal sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California
Reuters/Beck Diefenbach

PayPal has accused India’s biggest online payments startup of stealing its logo

Itika Sharma Punit
By Itika Sharma Punit

Co-editor, Quartz India

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One of the world’s largest payments firm believes that India’s biggest digital payments startup has stolen from its logo.

In a complaint (pdf) filed with the Indian trademark office, California-based PayPal accused Paytm of using a logo that is ”deceptively and confusingly similar” to its own, claiming the Alibaba Group-backed firm had “slavishly adopted the two-tone blue colour scheme” of the trademarked PayPal logo.

Screengrab from PayPal's complaint against Paytm.

“These similarities cause a likelihood of confusion… 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,” the complaint reads.

Paytm declined to comment on the allegations.

PayPal has been using its trademark across several countries since 1999, it said in the notice. Paytm’s logo is still in the final stages of getting registred.

As part of the trademark registration process in India, a company needs to advertise its logo and wait for a period of four months, during which anyone can raise objections or oppose it, as Rahul Dev, a patent attorney and tech corporate lawyer, explained in a post on LinkedIn.

Paytm had advertised its logo on July 18, which means, PayPal’s complaint was filed on the last day of the statutory four-month period.

The complaint also came as Paytm saw a huge uptick in its user base.

The Noida-based startup has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Indian government’s Nov. 08 decision to pull Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes out of circulation. Between Nov. 08 and Nov. 21, Paytm registered more than five million new users. By then, the company said, it was clocking more than seven million transactions per day, which is more than the combined average daily usage of the 24.5 million credit cards and 661.8 million debit cards in circulation in India.

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