Pawan Munjal-helmed Hero MotoCorp, which is roaring to enter the electric vehicle market next year, has a rather significant roadblock to reckon with. According to a 2010 family settlement Pawan Munjal and the company cannot use the popular ‘Hero’ brand name for its electric vehicle venture for two-, three- or four-wheelers. This is so because the global rights for the green technology has gone to his nephew Naveen Munjal’s Hero Electric.
Naveen Munjal said that only his family has the right to use the Hero brand for green vehicles, and any violation will “lead to legal action”, as mentioned in a report in Times of India. Nevertheless, there is no non-compete or prohibition on other clan members to enter the eclectic vehicle segment with a different branding.
Naveen Munjal is the son of Pawan Munjal’s cousin, Vijay Munjal. Naveen has been running the Hero Electric two-wheeler business since 2007. He told the daily that his company received the global rights for the Hero brand name for electrics in perpetuity, for both personal and commercial markets.
The Munjal clan that has players such as Sunil Munjal and Pankaj Munjal, besides Pawan, Naveen and Vijay, made a settlement as part of a larger pact that allows Naveen and family to use the Hero brand for EVs. The clan runs several businesses under the Hero brand name, including two-wheelers, bicycles, electric vehicles, components, realty, insurance etc.
A spokesperson for Pawan Munjal’s Hero MotoCorp, though not directly commenting on the legality of the Hero brand name, said that there is a family understanding in place and everyone in the Munjal family is aware of it. The spokesperson said that everything is being done within the parameters of the understanding and the agreement. “The family agreement is crystal clear. Hero MotoCorp is well aware of its rights, and has always acted, and will continue to act based on the best legal advice,” said the spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Naveen Munjal said that he is open to partnerships, even within the family, as he expands the business under Hero Electric. “We have cordial family relations, and there is no animosity. It’s just that we’ve got to protect our business interests,” he said when asked if he is willing to collaborate with uncle Pawan Munjal’s Hero MotoCorp.
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