Trademark bullying has always been a cause for concern because it spells out overstepping the line, monopoly and power all in one place most of the times. As the name suggests, trademark bullying happens when a registered trademark owner, without justifiable reason, threatens or tries to threaten another trademark owner with legal action. It is predominantly instances of one entity intimidating another to give up on their trademark rights even though there are no cogent grounds to oppose the use of the disputed trademark. When the trademark owner becomes aggressive in protecting his trademarks, eventually the lines between actual infringement and absurd allegations blur.

bigbasket trademark infringement case article
Vector created by freepik –

As Big Basket & Daily Basket Fight it Out

The recent spat between BigBasket and Daily Basket borders on this blur. BigBasket, the largest online grocery store in India slapped a Cease-and-Desist notice on Daily Basket, a young startup, alleging infringement of their trademark. They claimed that the mere mention or reference of a name containing “basket” in word or logo form for any E-commerce business and related products would confuse the relevant class of consumers into assuming association with BigBasket.

This move has drawn the ire of several sections of people since the words like ‘Basket’, ‘Cart’ or ‘Pantry’ have become commonplace to grocery companies. The words are also in the nature of a suggestive mark (when used in conjunction with the quintessential element of the mark) since the crux of such grocery businesses is to provide consumers with an online basket/cart/pantry in which they can add products that will later get delivered to them. That being said, in the instant case, apart from the word ‘basket’ there are no other similarities in the marks used by either of the businesses. Be it their websites, app interfaces or the respective section of customers,  there seem to be notable differences.

Groundless Threat of Legal Proceeding

The Indian Trade Marks Act, 1999 provides for protection against groundless threats of legal proceedings under Section 142. The provision states that when a person by means of circulars, advertisements or otherwise threatens another person with an action or proceeding for infringement of a trademark registered/ alleged to be registered the person aggrieved may bring a suit against the former and obtain a declaration to the extent that such threats are unjustified (More reads on groundless threats of legal proceedings can be found here, here and here). However, in the instant case, Daily Basket chose an ingenious method of retaliation. They have hit back by creating an interactive website called and made the legal notice public there.  Interestingly (not so much for BigBasket I am sure), the very title as you enter the website, reads, “BigBasket is bullying with Cease & desist letter,” wherein they have countered each of BigBasket’s claims vigorously, ending with a note to spread the information, which needless to say, has been spreading like wildfire.

Taking legal action? Let us first mull over it!

As already mentioned, there is only a thin line between Trademark defence and Trademark Bullying and hence certainly require to be contemplated at length, for, be it actions against infringement or groundless threat of legal action, they are double-edged swords and require utmost caution. Handle with Care!

This article has been authored by Sandhya S