Paytm Vs PayPal : Seeing Red in the Blue of ‘Cashless’ Competition



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Being Blatantly Blue and Colour Confusions

A TM (TradeMark) has no Pals. Pay please

PayPal is Seeing Red and has filed a complaint with the Trademark office. This was in  response to Paytm‘s advertisement four months ago as part of the registration process for the Paytm trademark. On the last day of the mandatory four month notice period, PayPal has raised its objection to the said Paytm trademark. The cry is over the hue predominantly. Cash may be green, but cashlessness is in the blue, it seems.

The points of objection are the colours used and the name. Firstly the name is split (in both the brands) with Pay being the first syllable. Secondly Paytm also uses two similar shades of Blue as used by PayPal. That both are in the same field of cashless transactions only underlines the importance PayPal must attach to this case.

Cool Chilli’s Comments

Paytm while it was getting named or its logo designed would surely have scanned the business landscape. Paytm seems to have been coined to rhyme with ATM. But the way Paytm starts with Pay, coupled with the two shades of blue similar to PayPal surely begs the question. Does it not seem familiar to the PayPal logo and brand name?

The matter between the two could be settled without a legal battle. Hope Paytm also sees merit in this. There seems enough logic for the court to look at the situation from PayPal‘s perspective. Agreed that some foreign franchises have not been successful in their legal fights over brand name protection. A few years ago, an Hindi film named ‘Hari Puttar’ got a go ahead in a battle over similarity with Harry Potter. Hollywood’s Warner Bros could not push their case much.

There does not seem sufficient logic for Paytm to try to use a look alike version of PayPal‘s. While PayPal is a known brand in India too, its recall would be restricted to a minor segment of the market. Also the number of PayPal users compared to the addressable market would be miniscule. With India going cashless and with more than three quarters of the market up for grabs, PayPal must surely be not wishing to give up on its brand salience so easily.

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ArdhaNareeshwar by Shivatmika

Jalandhara and Jugaad

Jugaad (Indian improvisation) is worthy of emulation. It is accepted and is widely admired the world over. But attempting to blatantly imitate can be inimical to ones own interest in the long run. Even an otherwise noble man under the influence of greed or lust can succumb to this weakness. In Hindu mythology, Jalandhara’s  fortunes changed when he tried to impersonate Lord Shiva to deceive Goddess Parvati. A furious Parvati complained to her ‘brother’, Lord Vishnu who in turn impersonated Jalandhara and violated his wife, Brinda’s trust. That Brinda was an ardent devotee of Vishnu only adds poignancy to the tale. 

India is boldly reaching out to occupy a significant place as a powerful economy in the league of Nations. This will happen with the help of well run corporates which build world class brands, besides products and services. Needless to add, a ‘brand’ goes well beyond the services it seeks to represent. Hence later day entrants in a market segment would do well to ensure that they are not compromising on the integrity of their nascent brands, whether in colour, context  .

By not respecting global branding norms, Businesses also exhibit their lack of creativity, sensitivity or callous attitude towards Branding. As more Indian brands progress to meet Global consumer expectations, we may only see more of this challenge, unless the promoters take diligent steps to create identities distinct in most respects.

We end with the hope that Indian brands would churn out innovative ways to communicate. If for nothing else, but the fact that they owe this to their inherent fertile imagination and the same juices that stimulated ancient India to create a rich tapestry of a unique culture and associated symbolisms. The multifarious wefts and warps which we are  slowly reaching out to, to unravel Life itself!

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