Royal Enfield has denied any fault in the lawsuit filed by Flash Electronics Private Limited that alleges that one of the components used in some Royal Enfield models sold in the USA infringe on registered patents owned by Flash Electronics. In a latest statement, Royal Enfield has said that the component in question is supplied by a proprietary supplier which independently develops and owns the intellectual property (IP) rights to the component in question. The issue came to the forefront after Flash Electronics filed a lawsuit in the US for patent infringement of the regulator rectifier device that Flash claims was its invention and has been used on certain Royal Enfield motorcycles.
"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," Royal Enfield said in a statement.
Flash Electronics meanwhile, asserts that Royal Enfield officials approached the company in 2018 to settle the issue, and there was no outcome from that meeting. In fact, Flash says that Royal Enfield did not address the concerns, and effectively addressed the issue when it was brought up first by Flash Electronics.
"As the matter is sub-judice, all I can say is that the response filed by RE with the Stock Exchanges seems highly irresponsible for a company of their size, reputation and heritage, unless RE is being misguided by the vendor in question. If the vendor has any proprietary technology, it can be simply shared and the matter 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. 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," said Sanjeev Vasdev, Founder & MD, Flash Electronics India Private Limited.
The component in question is the regulator-rectifier that converts the alternating current (AC) voltage into direct current (DC) voltage which then charges the battery, powers the headlight, instrument panel and the entire electrical system. Flash Electronics alleges that the company received the patents by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in February 2018 for the component, and that the company has also been granted patents in other countries, including Germany, France, Italy, UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, as well as Turkey.