Who will use the Hero brand for electric vehicle (EV) businesses—that is the debate going on inside the Munjal family.
Vijay Munjal, who, along with his son Naveen Munjal, owns Hero Electric, has filed a complaint in the Delhi High Court against his cousin Pawan Munjal, the promoter and chairman of Hero MotoCorp, seeking an injunction against Hero MotoCorp using the brand name for its upcoming electric two-wheeler products.
Pawan Munjal was barred from using the 'Hero' brand name for any electric two-, three-, or four-wheelers made by his company, according to a 2010 family settlement, while the global rights for Hero's EVs were given to Vijay Munjal.
Last year, Naveen Munjal told Times Of India, any violation of the settlement would result in "legal action" adding that "only my family has the right to use the Hero brand for green vehicles"—despite the fact that other clan members are free to enter the category with different branding.
"We have the ownership of the Hero brand name for electrics and no one can use it. There is no ambiguity here. We can use it for any type of vehicle running on land—two-wheelers, three-wheelers, cars or commercial vehicles. If our rights are encroached upon, we will take legal recourse," he added.
Now according to Business Standard Vijay Munjal moved to court because Hero MotoCorp is preparing to debut a line of electric scooters and motorbikes, as well as a new sub-brand called VIDA, and Pawan Munjal does not appear to have lost upon the brand name.
Prateek Srivastava, Co-founder of Chapter Five Brand Solutions, a brand consulting and communications company, told Business Today, "Brand name is the most important asset any company would have. It's a brand they've built over years… I'm hoping they will be able to settle it through arbitration in which case it shouldn't take too long. A simpler solution is that they kind of become partners and pool in their resources and launch one company and one brand."
So in the case of a partnership, according to the TOI report from early 2021, Naveen Munjal said that "we are open to partnerships within the family. We are not closed to the idea". Additionally, he stated that "we have cordial family relations, and there is no animosity. It's just that we've got to protect our business interests".
However, Sonam Chandwani, Managing Partner, KS Legal and Associates told Business Today that both the parties would have to find a middle ground and settle this outside of court. She added that they won't be able to launch a new product until the disagreement is settled, as the other party may place a stay on the proceedings.
"This delay will also cost them a huge amount of money. It's very difficult to build that loyalty. The more they delay, the more they'll lose out on the opportunity to," she noted.
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