Daily Basket calls out BigBasket for using 'bullying' tactics

  •  February 24,2021 By IndianTelevision Team

NEW DELHI: Shakespeare may have well opined “What’s in a name?” but going by the latest clash of two brands over a name, apparently there’s a lot at stake. In what appears to be a David vs Goliath scenario, India's largest online supermarket Bigbasket has locked horns with fledgling online grocery start-up Daily Basket, for what it terms as “violating and diluting” the former's brand name and trademark .

According to the notice of trademark infringement sent to Daily Basket on 17 February, BigBasket claimed that the six-month-old company is offering identical products and services through a similar domain name.

“It has recently come to our client’s attention that you are carrying on an e-commerce business and offering identical products and services through the conflicting similar domain name ‘dailybasket.com’ while using a deceptively and/or confusingly similar name and mark ‘dailybasket’ and related logo as our client’s trading name and mark BigBasket/bigbasket.com," said the letter sent by legal representatives of BigBasket to Daily Basket.

BigBasket further accused it of “dishonestly adopting the name and mark ‘dailybasket’ to make it deceptively and/or confusingly similar” to that of BigBasket and of even “deliberately copying” the layout of its website with the “mischievous” intention of cashing upon the goodwill and reputation acquired by it.

It went on to direct Daily Basket to immediately “cease and desist from using, in any manner whatsoever, the name, mark and logo of ‘dailybasket’, and any other name or mark containing ‘basket’ as its prominent feature hereon”,  either on its domain or  on its products and services and even “remove all references” of its name and mark ‘dailybasket’ from the third-party websites on the Internet.

The e-tailer also ordered the newcomer to immediately “transfer the deceptively and confusingly similar domain dailybasket.com to our client at no costs” and provide an undertaking to BigBasket signifying it’s compliance with the requirements of the letter within 15 days from the date of the notice. This comes just ahead of Tata Group acquiring a majority stake in the online grocery unicorn at a valuation of $2 billion .

In response, Daily Basket, started by Coimbatore-based Ramesh Vel and Ajit Kumar, lost no time in launching a website, cheekily titled “bbisabully.com”, to put up a point-by-point rebuttal to each of BigBasket’s allegations.

It pointed out that except for the word 'basket', there are no similarities or trademark violations in the brand logo, stating that the colours, font, graphics et al are different and the name itself is different. It added that BigBasket wants to sue the start-up only because it has 'basket' in its name. The Daily Basket asserted that “no one has a monopoly on the word 'basket' or on having the word 'basket' and selling groceries online.” It also said that BigBasket itself could be accused of infringing on another brand’s name, reminding it that “NaturesBasket.com was actually started in 2005, way before BigBasket.”

The website refuted all of BigBasket’s claims of a similar logo, website or mobile app by displaying all of it, with comparisons to that of the online grocery unicorn. It thoroughly made its case of how dissimilar both are, and whatever similarity is there in the layout of the website is only due to the similarity of the nature of its businesses, citing similar examples of Jiomart, Grofers, Nature’s Basket, Amazon Pantry along with its two apps. 

Explaining why it chose to make this legal fight public, the Daily Basket’s co-founder Ramesh Vel said that it is a tiny two-person start-up, currently only serving in Coimbatore and about to open its first physical location. It doesn’t have “the mighty power and money BigBasket possesses to engage in endless lawsuits and unlawful intimidations.” Hence, they put it in the open to show the truth to the public, “how a big billion dollar company sees a upcomer as a competition and is trying to eliminate us with corporate bullying.” The bootstrapped company urged the BigBasket management to look into this matter and “stop sending such threatening emails to upcoming start-ups.”

On its part, BigBasket put out a clarification on Tuesday on its social media handles, saying they felt the need to do so “having received several queries regarding Daily Basket over the last one-two days.” The Tata-backed unicorn stated that “having painstakingly built a trusted brand over the last nine years, it is necessary for BigBasket to protect its trademark” and that “even start-ups, however small, need to operate within the boundaries of the law.” It went on to say that it “intends to work with the founder of Daily Basket to resolve this amicably, while at the same time protecting our brand and trademark.”

With both parties seemingly unwilling to back down, it remains to be seen how this latest battle of brands over a name plays out. Incidentally, BigBasket was itself sued by tea maker Girnar over a trademark infringement case in 2018 involving the word ‘royal’ which had been used by the e-commerce grocer for its in-house label brands.