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what’s in a name? Swiggy and FreeCharge face legal notice for misusing Indian Cricketer’s name

Cricket is no longer just a game in India; rather it has taken the shape of a religion in the country. The game is the second most popular and second most viewed sports in the world after Football. In India, the fan following of Cricket is overwhelming and the cricketers are treated next to god. Almost a billion follow cricket on a regular basis.

Currently, Indian is hosting the West Indies team for a test series. The first test match took place in Rajkot and India won very easily. In that match, a budding Indian opening batsman, Prithvi Shaw debuted. He gave an outstanding performance and scored a century making him the talk of the town. At 18 years of age, he became the youngest Indian to score a test debut century.

This opportunity was used by two companies for their benefit. Indian startup, online food delivery unicorn Swiggy and digital payments wallet Freecharge used Shaw’s name smartly for advertisement purposes. The companies tweeted with Shaw’s name to promote their own businesses, as they knew that Shaw was trending all over the news and all the social media platforms. Baseline Ventures manages Prithvi Shaw’s marketing and they served the two companies with “cease and desist” notice, seeking compensation of $135K (INR 1 Cr) from each of them. These companies allegedly encashed the name and fame of Shaw without authorisation.

This shows the temptation to involve a cricketer in any way to make a name in the market. Swiggy is already an established entity in India but Freecharge lost its ground to Paytm after the demonetization move in 2016. This controversy has again brought the name of the company in the forefront, though negatively but at least in the news after long. Swiggy, however, does not need such negative publicity as it is already in the top tier of online food delivery platforms competing with Zomato.

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