Troubled times at RE as Flash Electronics files suit for patent infringement

Chennai: With sales dropping at an alarming rate on a monthly-basis in India, the bosses at Royal Enfield had much to worry about to begin with. However, they have now got more trouble in their kitty as auto component manufacturer Flash Electronics India has filed a suit against the bike maker.

The Pune-based company in the lawsuit said Royal Enfield has infringed its patent on ‘Regulator Rectifier Device’ and method for regulating an output voltage of the same.

The company claimed the patent for its product was duly issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on 20 February 2018, after its research and development team came up with 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, it said in a statement.

In response, Royal Enfield has released a statement saying it has received no official communication ad that it has learnt of a lawsuit filed in the US by Flash Electronics 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,” RE said.

Coming out with a different perspective however, Founder and MD, Flash Electronics India, Sanjeev Vasdev, said, his firm was approached by three senior officials of Royal Enfield on 12 October last year in New Delhi to settle the issue amicably and requested it not to file any suit on the matter.

“Flash waited for the outcome of this meeting but Royal Enfield did not address the issue,” he noted.

“We have been trusted suppliers to leading auto manufacturers across India and overseas and it is unfortunate to have to deal with such an unexpected and unprecedented act on the part of Royal Enfield,” said Sanjeev and added that the incident is objectionable and has dented the credibility of Royal Enfield, at least with Flash Electronics India as a partner.

He added that the company will take all necessary action required across the world to ensure that Royal Enfield stops infringing the patent and pays compensation for the violation which would run into millions of dollars.

The regulator-rectifier is a component that converts the AC (alternating current) into DC (direct current) voltage to run a motorcycle’s electrical system.

The Flash group currently supplies components to various domestic two-wheeler companies including Bajaj Auto, India Yamaha Motor and JAWA Motorcycles.

NT Bureau