Flash Electronics Files Lawsuit against Royal Enfield in the US for Patent Infringement

Electronic and electric auto components player Flash Electronics India on Monday, 20 May 2019 said that it has filed a lawsuit against auto maker Royal Enfield, challenging patent infringement in the US, regarding the production of an important component for two wheelers/ motorcycles.

“As per the suit filed, Royal Enfield has infringed Flash Electronics’ patent on ‘Regulator Rectifier Device and Method for Regulating an Output Voltage of the Same’ duly issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to Flash Electronics on February 20, 2018,” the company said in a statement.

According to sources, the company gets a revenue of around ₹20 crore per annum from this particular component and aims to get around ₹100 crore per annum, once the BS-VI kicks in from next year. Currently, the company has a total turnover of ₹900 crore.

Regulator-rectifier

The statement said that Flash’s R&D department made a breakthrough invention of 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.

The regulator-rectifier is a vital component that efficiently converts the alternating current (AC) voltage produced in motorcycle engines into direct current (DC) voltage to charge the batteries, power the headlights, and light up the instrument panel; hence, the component drives the motorcycle’s electrical systems.

Besides the US, Flash has been granted patent in many European countries, (Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain) the United Kingdom, as well as Turkey, and the company will file similar suits in the respective jurisdictions soon, the statement said.

The Flash group supplies components to various two-wheeler companies including Bajaj Auto, India Yamaha Motor, and JAWA Motorcycles, and globally it caters to companies like Porsche, Audi, BMW, KTM, Kawasaki, Harley-Davidson, Ducati and Triumph.

“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 act on the part of Royal Enfield. This incident is highly objectionable and has dented the credibility of the brand, at least with us as a partner,” said Sanjeev Vasdev, founder and Managing Director, Flash Electronics India.

Vasdev also said that the company was approached by three senior officials of Royal Enfield on October 12, 2018, in New Delhi, to settle the issue amicably and had requested Flash not to file any suit on the matter. Flash waited for the outcome of this meeting but Royal Enfield did not address the issue.

Denies claims

In a statement rebuking the allegations, Royal Enfield said, “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.”

The company added, “Even though no official communication has been received, we have 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,” they added.

The company stated that they are evaluating the issue internally and seeking legal advice.