In addition to receiving a ban on sales of Metropolis in French and Italian territories, Peugeot Motorcycles has also incurred heavy fines in both the markets
In what is a significant setback for Mahindra-owned Peugeot Motorcycles, the courts in Paris and Milan have ruled against the sale of popular Peugeot Metropolis three-wheeled maxi-scooter in France and Italy due to a patent infringement. On top of that, both courts levied hefty fines.
Piaggio Group’s patent suit against Peugeot Scooters
The legal battle between Italy’s Piaggio Group and Peugeot Motorcycles centers around the control system which enables a three-wheeler to tilt like a regular two-wheeler. The patent for the aforementioned technology is owned by Piaggio Group which implements the system on its Piaggio MP3 scooter.
Both the Tribunal Judiciaire of Paris and Tribunale of Milan have found the control system employed by Peugeot Metropolis to be infringing Piaggio Group’s patent. As a result, the French court has banned Peugeot Motorcycles from producing, promoting, marketing, importing, exporting, using and/or possessing any three-wheeled scooter employing Piaggio’s patented technology in France. The court also imposed a fine of 1.5 million euros (Rs 12.95 crores) in addition to other penalties.
The Milanese court also ruled on the similar lines, banning the Indian-owned French two wheeler maker from importing, exporting, marketing and advertising the Peugeot Metropolis scooter in the Italian territory. Moreover, the court has prescribed a fine of 6,000 euros (around INR 5.18 lakh) for every Metropolis sold 30 days after the announcement of this sentence. Failing to withdraw the contentious vehicles from sale within 90 days will lead to a further penalty of 10,000 euros (around INR 8.64 lakh) for every day of non-compliance.
Given that the three-wheeled maxi-scooters are quite popular in both France and Italy, the ban on Metropolis comes as a huge blow to Peugeot Motorcycles which is entitled to appeal both the rulings. However, the company has not made its legal strategy public yet. Should the brand chooses not to pursue the legal battle further, or loses its appeal, we believe that a re-engineering process will be on the cards.
As of now, the Peugeot Metropolis scooter continues to be listed on the company’s official Italian website. Priced a shade below 10,000 euros (around INR 8.64 lakh), the premium three-wheeler employs a 400 cc liquid-cooled engine with an automatic transmission. The power and torque figures stand at 35.6 hp and 38.1 Nm respectively.
In comparison, the Piaggio MP3 is available in different flavours with three engine options – 300cc, 400cc and 500cc with prices ranging from 6,890 euros (around INR 5.95 lakh) to 11,590 euros (around INR 10.01 lakh).
We expect Piaggio Group to initiate legal actions in all the markets where the Peugeot Metropolis is being sold. It is to be noted that while Peugeot Motorcycles evaluated a possible Indian entry a few years ago, nothing materialized.