After electronic and electric auto components player Flash Electronics India Ltd filed a lawsuit against iconic Indian motorcycle-maker Royal Enfield, the matter is taking various turns as allegations and reactions are pouring in. Here are details of the matter and what followed after Flash filed a lawsuit about patent infringement in the US regarding the production of an important component for two-wheelers/motorcycles.
What does the lawsuit say?
As per the suit filed, Royal Enfield has been accused of infringing Flash Electronics’ patent on “Regulator Rectifier Device and Method for Regulating an Output Voltage of the Same” duly issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to Flash Electronics on February 20, 2018 after Flash’s R&D department made a breakthrough invention of the component in 2014. Since then Flash Electronics has been the key manufacturer and supplier of this component to many leading two-wheeler manufacturers in India and overseas, says Flash Electronics.
What is regulator-rectifier device?
The regulator-rectifier is a vital component that smoothly and efficiently converts the AC (Alternating Current) voltage produced in motorcycle engines into DC (Direct Current) voltage to charge the batteries, power the headlights, light up the instrument panel and hence, drives the motorcycle’s electrical systems. Besides USA, Flash has been granted patent in various other countries including many European countries including Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Switzerland as well as Turkey and the company would be filing similar suits in the respective jurisdictions soon.
Reacting to the Flash’s allegations, Royal Enfield has released a statement. Here is the FULL TEXT:-
“Royal Enfield (A unit of Eicher Motors Ltd.) is a responsible company that has been working with various suppliers for over 60 years, in a manner that meets all legal and regulatory requirements. Even though no official communication has been received, we have learnt of a lawsuit filed in The United States of America by Flash Electronics Pvt Ltd. that alleges that one of the components used in some of our motorcycle models sold in the USA infringe on the plaintiff’s registered patent. We would like to clarify that the said component is supplied to us by an external, proprietary supplier, which independently develops and owns the IP rights in the said component. The supplier denies plaintiff’s claims vehemently. We are actively evaluating the issue internally and seeking legal advice from our US counsels.”
Flash’s reaction to RE’s statement on lawsuit
Now, reacting to RE’s statement on the lawsuit filed, Vasdev, Founder and MD of Flash Electronics said that, “He finds this response highly irresponsible for a company of the size, reputation and heritage of Royal Enfield, unless it is being misguided by the vendor in question. In response to Royal Enfield’s clarification to BSE.” Vasdev, added, “As the matter is sub-judice, all I can say is that if the vendor has any proprietary technology, it can be simply shared, and the matter can be resolved. The fact that RE Officials approached Flash for a settlement in October 2018 and have since then filed caveats with courts across cities in India proves that there is merit in Flash’s assertions.”
“The company wants Royal Enfield to stop infringing the patent and pay compensation for the violation. On the issue of materiality, all we can say is that the likelihood of RE motorcycles being taken off roads across its largest territories is as material as it gets,” the statement by Flash said.