It’s common for companies in the same industry to quibble over the rights to use names and logos. Corporates are fiercely protective of their trademarks, and stop at nothing to get their competitors to using IP that belongs to them. But Paytm, India’s second most valuable startup, appears to have stepped on the toes of 150 year old institution.
The Indian Postal department has sent Paytm a notice over the use of the term Postcard in its latest product, Postcards. “It is hereby intimated that the use of word Postcard is the sole prerogative of India Post as per the IPO Act and established rules and regulations. Hence, the usage of the word Postcard is an infringement of the terms and conditions of the provisions of rules and guidelines,” said the notice. India Post said that the company must desist use of the word postcard with immediate effect.
Paytm had launched Paytm Postcards just two weeks ago. Postcards would have let users send money to each other through Postcards, which Paytm had tried to brand as “digital shagun”. Users could send money on special occasions, and recipients would’ve received in the form of a nicely designed digital envelope.
The idea wasn’t new. WeChat in China had been letting users send each other Red Envelopes for several years now, and in India, Hike had copied the idea with the unimaginative name of Blue Envelopes. Paytm implemented the same feature, but appears to have tripped up in choosing a somewhat creative name.
And it isn’t as though Paytm is the only service in India with postcard in its name. Postcard.news is a news site, a service called MyPostcard lets users send customised postcards, and Lonely Planet magazine has a Postcards section. But Paytm’s high profile might’ve caused Indian Post to act — being one of India’s hottest startups has its perks, but it comes with increased scrutiny as well.