Flash Electronics India Ltd has filed a lawsuit against Royal Enfield in regards to patent infringement in the US. This pertains to a component for two wheelers/ motorcycles. The lawsuit filed states Royal Enfield has infringed Flash electronics’ patent on “Regulator Rectifier Device and Method for Regulating an Output Voltage of the Same.”
A regulator-rectifier smoothly and efficiently converts AC (Alternating Current) voltage produced in motorcycle engines into DC (Direct Current) voltage to charge batteries, powers headlights, and lights up the instrument panel. The energy conversion is channelized to charge motorcycle electrical systems.
The patent for the same was issued by United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to Flash Electronics on February 20, 2018 on the basis of the breakthrough invention in 2014. Flash Electronics is a key manufacturer and supplier of this component to leading two-wheeler manufacturers in India and overseas.
For its ‘Regulator Rectifier Device and Method for Regulating an Output Voltage of the Same’, Flash holds a patent in Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey. Going forward, the company will soon file infringement lawsuits in respective jurisdictions.
Sanjeev Vasdev, Founder and Managing Director, Flash Electronics India Pvt Ltd said “Flash Electronics is a responsible and mature member of the automotive community, manufacturing cutting edge engineering products since decades and is recognized on a global automotive front for its strong in-house R&D capabilities. We have been trusted suppliers to leading auto manufacturers across India and overseas and it’s unfortunate to have to deal with such an unexpected and unprecedented act on the part of Royal Enfield, one of the most prestigious names in the automotive sector. This incident is highly objectionable and has dented the credibility of the brand, at least with us as a partner.”
On October 12, 2018, 3 senior officials of Royal Enfield met with Flash officials to deal with the infringement in an amicable manner, and requested Flash to not file a suit. The latter awaited an outcome of this meeting but Royal Enfield did not address the issue. Flash will now take all necessary action in varying jurisdictions to prevent Royal Enfield’s patent infringement, and seek compensation for the violation. This would run into millions of dollars. Vasdev also urged other component manufacturers to be vigilant in regards to such predatory behaviour.
UPDATE – Royal Enfield replies
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.