World’s top selling car maker, Toyota Motor Corporation has won the case over the brand name ‘Prius’ in India. The Japanese car major was troubled when it had to engage in a lawsuit to claim the brand name of its globally acclaimed and highly popular Prius hybrid model in India. However, Toyota gets to keep its iconic Prius branding to itself, as the company has emerged victorious by the High Court judgment about the use of the Prius name for the hybrid sedan in the country.
The immensely popular, Toyota Prius hybrid has been around in India for quite some time now. However, the car major later found that another automotive company is using the ‘Prius’ name. The auto firm called itself Prius Auto Industries and also has an accessory manufacturing wing named as Prius Auto Accessories Private Limited. Both these companies however, do not manufacture cars but manufacture and supply automobile components as well as accessories. Toyota Motors also found out that these companies under the name of Prius Industries were also selling various automotive spare parts under the name of Toyota, Innova as well as Qualis. Thus, it became very apparent to the Japanese auto giant that Prius Auto industries is not using the name incidentally, but is intentionally cashing on the vast reputation of Toyota Motor.
Prius Auto Industries as well as the Prius Auto Accessories both held registered trademarks in India. On the other hand, Toyota Kirloskar Motor India, the Indian joint venture of the Japanese car major had not applied for any registration for the Prius name in this country. Nevertheless, the company got wary about the unjustified advantage that the components and accessory supplier was taking of the highly respected global brand value of Toyota Motors and misusing the credibility of the company to make profits. Hence, Toyota filed a case against the so-called Prius Auto Industries in the Delhi High Court back in the year 2009.
The court case lasted for seven long years, after which Toyota Motor has finally got justice in the form of the favorable judgment by the high court. In a final hearing in the Delhi High Court on 8th of July, the verdict was announced which gave the justified right of using the Prius brand to Toyota Motor or its Indian presence Toyota Kirloskar Motor.
The High Court also found that the Prius Industries have done business of over Rs. 20 crore by utilizing the Prius and the various Toyota brand names. Thus, the court has also slapped a penalty of Rs. 10 lakhs on the components supplier as a violation of the trademark rights of Toyota Motors and for unethically taking advantage of the global goodwill of the Toyota Prius brand name to sell its own products in the Indian automotive market by misguiding the Indian consumers. The components company will be paying the fine directly to Toyota Motor.
Thus, Toyota has rightfully gained the Prius brand name in India, which pioneered the global hybrid segment.
Tagged: Toyota Prius