India: Breeding The Trade With Hybrid Trademarks


The liberalization of the economy has opened the doors for the foreign enterprises to exploit the Indian markets. The collaboration of various foreign enterprises with the Indian counterparts has started working on various business projects which are named after the initials of the both Indian as well as foreign enterprises. This unique way of representing new business with the initials of two business enterprises have introduced a new kind of trademarks and same is known as Hybrid trademarks.

Legally speaking, the term hybrid trademark does not have any mention in Trade Marks Act 1999 but literally speaking it means a combination of two or more brands to come up as a single brand for the purpose of promoting their legal partnership or business. There are various paradigms of popular hybrid trademarks in India like Maruti-suzuki, Lehar-Pepsi, Kawasaki-bajaj etc and even internationally like Sony-Ericsson, Arcelor- Mittal etc.

Rationale behind Hybrid Trademarks

In past, India had a closed economy where trade by foreign firms in India was restricted but after the globalization of the economy, the doors for the foreign firms opened for trade. In the beginning, the foreign firms were apprehensive to bring the entire setup to India for manufacturing of products so they formulated a new modus operandi to do trade in India. Instead of bringing entire setup for manufacturing, they collaborate with the Indian firms and brought only technology and Knowhow. They used the Indian manufacturing units for manufacturing other products. They also merged their names and come up with hybrid trademark some of which are quite popular and doing the trade till now.

Hybrid trademarks have played a very significant part in brand recognition across the globe. In a world of open economy, the trans-border reputation will add another dimension to a brand. The collaboration with the local brands will ease the entry in local market for a foreign brand. Several foreign firms initially collaborated with the local firms and later on started their individual ventures. We can sight the example of 'Honda' which started its business of motor-vehicles in collaboration with 'hero' and now it has started its own brand in motor-vehicles individually and doing well on individual front also.

Legal use of two different trademarks

The term hybrid trademark used here is not to be confused by those trademarks which are invented from taking the parts of two well known trademarks in order to take advantage of their established reputations without the permission of the owner. The use of two trademarks without the permission of the trademark owner would be termed as the infringement and would be prosecuted under section 29 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The hybrid trademarks are the creation of two entities in conformity of the terms and condition of their collaboration agreement. It is a genuine use of their already established trademark and the new identity created by the collaboration of two enterprises will have separated distinctivity from the already established reputation of the collaborators previous trademarks. For example identity of Hero-Honda a well known collaboration between Indian and Japanese brand, even though both companies have their distinctive identity in their respective countries but the goodwill of the brand Hero-Honda have separate identity of its own in the Indian market.

Advantages of hybrid trademarks

There are various advantages attached to a hybrid trademarks.

  • Readymade distinctiveness : hybrid trademarks such as Lehar-Pepsi, Maruti-Suzuki have ready made distinctiveness or they are inherently distinctive. These marks do not have to acquire distinctiveness by the means of use or promotion. Even though they have been promoted but that is only for the purpose of recognition in between customers. The distinctiveness inherent in these trademarks is just because of the sheer fact that they are a combination of two brands and does not have any meaning attached to it. It is only to show the collaboration of two brands.
  • Easy recognition : hybrid trade marks just because of the fact that they are combination of two brands (sometimes two well known brands) are easily recognizable brands. It does not take much of an effort to get recognition. Collaboration with an Indian brand (most of the time known brand) is an easy way to have a recognition in the market because local people already recognize local brand. Similarly, even in the local spheres, there are certain smaller firms which are highly concentrated within the industry. These small firms can negotiate with the dominant firms in the market and by the way of a joint venture, can come out with a hybrid trademark to surge its individual brand recognition. When compared to a new trademark the hybrid trademark has quality of getting recognition easily.
  • Cost efficient : with the advantage of readymade distinctiveness the hybrid trademarks are also cost effective. The cost of promoting a hybrid trademark is low as compared to a normal trademark because most of the collaborating brand has some recognition in the market which will provide them a readymade platform to work on and that will help in saving the cost of promotion on a large scale.
  • Minimum risk of infringement : hybrid trademarks are created due to collaboration of two known business entities and more often than not people recognized their individual status as well. Further the entities have their own market resources which always keep a watch on the use or misuse of their Intellectual Property and these market resources get multiplied when two entities join forces hence enforcement of the rights also have additional teeth. The misuse of the trademark is kept in check due to the severe enforcement techniques used by both enterprises in collaboration. Therefore the risk of infringement of the trademark is checked at the initial stages of misuse of trademark and the higher litigation cost is kept in check.

Disadvantages of hybrid trademarks

  • Dilution of individual image : excessive usage of hybrid trademarks can sometime lead to the dilution of image of individual Indian brand. The people start recognizing the hybrid brand and the individual Indian brand looses its importance, which in future can create problem for the Indian brand if it starts some new venture individually. People tend to presume that the same has also been started by the two collaborating brands.
  • Dispute of credits : Both collaborating parties tend to take credit of the success if the brand does well whereas they shift the burden of failure on each other. In both the cases of success and failure the dispute arises and which in turn lead to the failure of the brand in long run.
  • Dispute related to use : the hybrid trademarks can also be prone to the disputes related to the use of the mark. Sometimes the collaborating brands indulge in the dispute of over-using the trademark and sometime for under use. The agreement for the collaboration take cares all the term and condition of the use but even then dispute arises between the brands regarding use of the mark.


When we talk about trademarks, 'Hybrid trademark' is not a recognized phenomenon in the literal sense but it has quite an importance in the field of trans-border business ventures. Hybrid trademarks helped in bridging the gap between a domestic and international market. The advantage of having a hybrid trademark helps a foreign brand to have an easy access in the local market and tend to provide a readymade platform to the foreign brands. This is not only popular in India but also in the foreign market. It provides a readymade distinction with easy recognition and cost effectiveness. A hybrid trademark is a commodity which has international prospects because it is more often than not is a collaboration of two known entities and can be useful in more than one country. The advantages of having a hybrid brand are far greater than compared to disadvantages.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions