BigBasket, India’s largest online grocery that is on the cusp of being acquired by Tata Group, has claimed that Coimbatore-based Daily Basket infringes on its trademark and brand.
The Bengaluru-based seller of fruit and vegetables online, which is on the cusp of divesting a majority stake to Tata Group at a valuation of about $2 billion, has claimed that the bootstrapped startup—founded in June last year by Ramesh Vel and Ajit Kumar in Coimbatore—infringes on its trademark and brand.
Daily Basket, which started operations in August, received the ‘cease and desist’ notice from BigBasket’s lawyers on February 17. “…the mere mention or reference of a name containing “basket” in word or logo form for any e-commerce business and related products conjure in the minds of relevant class of consumers and members of trade as that of being associated with our client,” the notice says.
ET has reviewed a copy of the notice.
It further adds that Daily Basket is carrying out an e-commerce business offering identical products and services through a similar domain name, while using a “deceptively and/or confusingly similar” name and mark.
After receiving the notice, Daily Basket went public through bbisabully.com (BigBasket is a bully) where it claims that its grocery website and app are nowhere alike BigBasket’s, apart from the products that they sell.
“At the end of the day, it’s online commerce, so everything (products) is going to be the same,” Vel said. “We don’t have any similarities in design or app development, so they’re just confusing everyone with the word ‘basket’ being in our name.”
BigBasket did not respond to ET’s requests for comment till press time Sunday.
“This is overreach,” said Mathew Chacko, a partner at Spice Route Legal, adding that there is public interest in making sure that common trade terms are free for use by everyone. “It will be interesting to see if this ever goes to court how they balance the public interest of having common words not being trademarked, versus BigBasket’s interests in protecting their basket,” Chacko added.
Vel, whose family has been running a supermarket in his hometown near Coimbatore for over two decades, says Daily Basket does not have the resources to challenge BigBasket legally and hopes the issue will be resolved amicably.
Daily Basket has a single 3,000-square-foot warehouse and operates only in Coimbatore. It is looking to open its first offline store, which will double as a delivery hub, later this month.