Baseline Ventures slaps legal notice to Swiggy, FreeCharge. Here’s what happened
Using Prithvi Shaw’s name for commercial leverage under the pretext of congratulating the latest sensation of Indian cricket have landed two big brands in the soup.
As fans across the world were celebrating Indian test cricketer Prithvi Shaw century, foodtech major Swiggy and FreeCharge posted ‘congratulatory’ messages. However, the social media posts received ire and got a notice from Baseline Ventures, the sports marketing company that manages Shaw.
Baseline Ventures, the sports marketing team managing Shaw has sent cease and desist notices to these companies seeking a sum of Rs 1 crore each as compensation.
The reason these companies have been dragged into a legal struggle is that they used creatives with Shaw’s name on it.
FreeCharge and Swiggy both deleted their tweets. However, the Swiggy creative read: “Firsts we’ll remember forever: First bite of Rasmalai, First innings of Prithvi Shaw,”.
According to Baseline Ventures, both these companies are encashing on Shaw’s name and fame without the company’s authorization. These messages violated Baseline’s exclusive rights as well as Trademarks Act, 1996, according to a report in Business Today.
When Licensing Corner contacted Vipin Nair, joint MD and co-founder of Baseline Ventures to ask him why the action was taken when the brands were merely congratulating a debutant player for the first century, he said, “They were not merely ‘congratulating’ him. Both the companies have tactfully used Prithvi’s name and image by timing it to the occasion to highlight their nature of the business.”
However, Swiggy and FreeCharge are not the only ones to celebrate Prithvi’s success with their brand identity. Amul, known for its timely witty feeds have also shared a tweet stating “#Amul Topical: Youngest Indian to score debut test century!”
#Amul Topical: Youngest Indian to score debut test century! pic.twitter.com/C04aXhSM4l
— Amul.coop (@Amul_Coop) October 5, 2018
Commenting on the Amul’s perspective, Nair told Licensing Corner, “Amul uses caricatures and not images, so that’s where they get the room to stay clear. They have been doing contextual advertising for ages. However, we have also discussed their usage of Prithvi’s full name in the advertisement, which could be avoided.”
Currently, Protinex and Indian Oil were the rightful owners to associate with Prithvi.
Now, for the layman who might get confused as for why FreeCharge and Swiggy landed in the soup, we tried to decode the Trademarks Act, 1996:
A trademark is the means by which a business identifies its goods or services and distinguishes them from the goods and services supplied by other businesses. The registration of a trademark is an important task for any owner.
The act states that any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.
In simple words put together, using the talent of a star unlawfully with the intent of promoting their own brand is wrong.
On October 5, Shaw became the second-youngest Indian after Sachin Tendulkar to score a Test century for India. Indian beat West Indies by innings and 272 runs.