TVS to relaunch Flame, litigation with Bajaj to go on

Written by Corporate Bureau | Chennai, Feb 26 | Updated: Feb 27 2008, 05:56am hrs
In an attempt to cut losses on account of the patent dispute with Bajaj Auto over the use of twin spark plug technology, TVS Motor Company will soon re-launch the 125 cc Flame with a single spark plug ignition. TVS, however, has made it clear that this move will not dilute its stand that twin spark plug technology, which was originally featured in Flame, is a known art and the cases will go on in the courts of law.

TVS Motors launch of Flame, late last year, triggered a war of words which ultimately saw the countrys second and third largest two-wheeler manufacturers battle it out in court on whether TVS Motor violated a patent that Bajaj holds over the use of twin spark plug technology. TVS Motor had, prior to the launch of Flame, applied for revocation of the patent that Bajaj holds, claiming that such a technology already existed. Bajaj Auto moved court and obtained an injunction against TVS Motor from selling Flame a product TVS Motor had banked on to revive its sagging fortunes.

But the legal wrangle and the resultant restraining order on TVS Motor (the company has appealed against the order) from selling Flame has cost the company dear. We are losing revenue of about Rs 40 crore a month by not selling Flame. In terms of market share, the loss is 3%. It is in the interest of employees and other stakeholders of the company that we decided to launch Flame with a single spark plug ignition by mid-March, Venu Srinivasan, chairman, TVS Motor Company, said. He emphasised that more than the twin spark plug technology, the speciality of Flame launched last year was the unique engine specially designed, patented and licensed to TVS Motor by AVL, Austria, which features a 3-valve dual induction system that aids fuel efficiency without compromising on power.

He also said that by launching Flame with a single spark plug ignition, TVS Motor would not violate any court order. The bone of contention is only the use of twin spark plug technology. We will continue to fight that issue in court. We are confident of ultimately winning the case as, in our view, the technology has been in use since 1937 in aero-engines, he said.