Domestic electronic and electric component maker Flash Electronics India Ltd has filed a law suit against motorcycle maker Royal Enfield in the US. The suit has been filed for patent infringement of the regulator rectifier device that Flash claims was its invention and has been used by RE on its vehicles. Royal Enfield though has refuted the claims by the electronics maker and released a statement saying that the said component is sourced from an independent supplier which independently develops and owns the IP rights of this component, and has denied these claims vehemently.
Commenting on the incident, Sanjeev Vasdev, Founder and MD, Flash Electronics India said "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".
The infringement involves the "Regulator Rectifier Device and the method of Regulating an Output Voltage of the same" that Flash says it received the patents to by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on February 20, 2018. The component is said to be an invention by the company's R&D team from 2014, and has since been supplied to a number of motorcycle makers in India and several other markets.
Besides the US, Flash has been granted patent in other countries including Germany, France, Italy, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Switzerland as well as Turkey. The parts supplier would be filing similar suits in the respective jurisdictions soon, as per its press release.
In a response, Royal Enfield issued a statement saying it that the bike maker has not receive an official communication on the mateter. "We are actively evaluating the issue internally and seeking legal advice from our US counsels. Royal Enfield 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."
The component at the centre of this infringement is the regulator-rectifier that essentially converts the AC (Alternating Current) voltage into DC (Direct Current) voltage that then charges the batteries, powers the headlight, instrument console, electrical system and more.
Vasudev has further alleged that three senior officials of Royal Enfield had approached Flash Electronics on October 12, 2018 in Delhi to "settle the issue amicably and not to file any suit on the matter." The electric parts supplier says it waited for the outcom of the meeting but RE did not address the issue. Vasudev further commented that Flash will take the necessary to ensure that Royal Enfield stops infringing the patent and pays compensation for the violation which would run into millions of dollars.