When Prithvi Shaw hit a century during his debut Test against West Indies, congratulatory messages poured in from fans on social media. The right-handed batsman was trending on social media for his spectacular performance. However, companies like Swiggy and FreeCharge have landed in the soup for their messages. 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 tussle is because they used creatives with Shaw's name on it, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times. FreeCharge and Swiggy both deleted their tweets. "Firsts we'll remember forever: First bite of Rasmalai, First innings of Prithvi Shaw," the Swiggy creative read.
Baseline Ventures believe that both these companies are encashing on Shaw's name and fame without the company's authorisation, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times. These messages violated Baseline's exclusive rights as well as Trademarks Act, 1996.
Tuhin Mishra, MD of Baseline Ventures told the daily that the tweets were "disappointing" and said it was "ambush marketing". "This is not only unfair to the player's achievements but also to other genuine current sponsors and potential sponsors of Prithvi who pay to associate and play by the rule books," Mishra said.
He also said that they will be taking legal recourse against other firms too who have carried similar ambush marketing communications.
Another company that carried on a tweet with Shaw's name is Amul. The tweet says, "Shawbash! Amul Prithvi ka favourite makhan!" with the Amul girl and Shaw in the background.
According to the daily, a Swiggy spokesperson acknowledged receiving the notice that's being evaluated by their legal team. The spokesperson said that the other party had not disclosed any of its client trademark rights and that they believe that the notice was sent on wrong facts as there is no case of infringement here.
"It was a bona fide usage as we as a company are also proud of Prithvi Shaw and his century in his debut match," the spokesperson said. FreeCharge CEO, Sangram Singh, did not respond to any of the queries sent by the daily.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)