Trademark disputes that purely arise in respect of contractual rights and obligations of the parties can be referred to arbitration: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has passed a judgment on 17-02-2022 in the case of Vijay Kumar Munjal and Ors. Vs Pawan Munjal& Anrs ARB.P. 975/2021. Justice Vibhu Bakhru dismissed the petition.


The petitioners have filed the present petition under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereafter ‘the A&C Act’), inter alia, praying that an arbitrator be appointed, on behalf of the respondents, to adjudicate the disputes that have arisen between the parties in relation to the Family Settlement Agreement dated 20.05.2010 (hereafter the ‘FSA’) and Trade Marks and Name Agreement dated 20.05.2010 (hereafter the ‘TMNA’).

The Munjal Family, a well-known business family, comprises of family members of four brothers (since deceased) – Late Shri Dayanand Munjal, Late Shri Satyanand Munjal, Late Shri Brij Mohan Lall Munjal and Late Shri Om Prakash Munjal (hereafter the ‘Munjal Brothers’).

The petitioners state that the Munjal Brothers established the business of bicycle spare parts in Amritsar, India in 1944. In 1956, the Munjal Brothers commenced manufacturing key components of bicycle and established a manufacturing plant in Ludhiana. Over a period of time, the Munjal Group diversified its business in the automotive sector, manufacture of bicycles and its components, and the financial sector including other such services. The Munjal Group comprises of several operating and investment companies (‘Munjal Group Companies’), Hindu Undivided Families of the members of the Four Family Groups (‘Munjal HuFs’), partnerships (‘Munjal Partnerships’), trusts (“Munjal Trusts”) and association of persons (‘Munjal AoPs’). The Munjal Group Companies, Munjal HuFs, Munjal Partnerships, Munjal Trusts and Munjal AoPs are hereafter collectively referred to as the ‘Munjal Group Entities’.

The petitioners state that the Munjal Group started using the name / brand / trademark “Hero” and its variants in connection with its businesses from 1953 onwards. On 13.06.1966, the Munjal Brothers, through their partnership firm, M/s. Hero Cycles Industries, applied for and obtained registration of the trademark “Hero” in Class 12 under application no. 235780. Further, the Munjal Brothers/entities of the Munjal Group also applied for registration of other trademarks containing the word “Hero” and/or its variants.


The court took reliance on various judgment, this Court considers it apposite to allow the petition and appoint an Arbitral Tribunal of three members to adjudicate the disputes between the parties. Accordingly, Justice (Retired) Dipak Misra, former Chief Justice of India; Justice (Retired) Indermeet Kaur, a former Judge of this Court; and Justice (Retired) Indu Malhotra, former Judge of the Supreme Court are appointed as the Arbitrators to constitute the Arbitral Tribunal to adjudicate the disputes in terms of the Arbitration Agreements under the FSA and TMNA. This is subject to the members of the Arbitral Tribunal making the necessary disclosure as required under Section 12 (1) of the A&C Act and not being ineligible under Section 12(5) of the A&C Act.

The parties are at liberty to approach the learned Members of the Arbitral Tribunal for further proceedings. It is clarified that all contentions of the parties are reserved. The observations made by this Court are solely for the purposes of this petition and the Arbitral Tribunal shall decide all disputes uninfluenced by any observations made in this order.

The petition is disposed of.

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