Flash Electronics sues Royal Enfield in US for patent violation

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Published: May 21, 2019 7:41:57 AM

As per the complaint, Royal Enfield had first sought to buy regulator-rectifiers from Flash, but when the parties could not agree on the price, the company secretly reverse-engineered its products and copied its patented technology.

The complaint has been filed against Royal Enfield and its arm Royal Enfield North America.The complaint has been filed against Royal Enfield and its arm Royal Enfield North America.

Auto component maker Flash Electronics has filed a lawsuit against Royal Enfield in the US, alleging patent violation of a component — regulator rectifier device — and has sought up to three times the amount of compensatory damages found. The complaint has been filed at the US District Court of Wisconsin, eastern region.

As per the complaint, Royal Enfield (RE) had first sought to buy regulator-rectifiers from Flash, but when the parties could not agree on the price, the company secretly reverse-engineered its products and copied its patented technology.

The complaint has been filed against Royal Enfield and its arm Royal Enfield North America.

When contacted, the Eicher Motors-owned company said, “We are in receipt of the said notice, and our teams in USA are reviewing the complaint.”

Sanjeev Vasdev, founder and MD, Flash Electronics India, alleged that when the companies did not agree on the price, RE appointed an Indian firm to copy the design. “We reminded them on multiple occasions about the infringement and also issued a cease and desist letter last year, for which we received a very standard reply stating that they are not violating any rights,” he told FE.

A regulator rectifier device converts the AC (alternating current) voltage produced in motorcycle engines into DC (direct current) voltage to charge the batteries, power the headlights and light up the instrument panel.

Flash Electronics alleged that in 2014, RE approached it to purchase regulator-rectifiers and as part of the negotiations, RE asked Flash to supply it with two regulator-rectifiers as samples to help it evaluate the purchase. After having provided the samples and several reminders asking for the samples back, RE returned one of them in August 2015. “Defendants (RE) regulator-rectifiers are identical in core respects to Flash’s design,” the company alleged. The complaint further alleged that RE used the component in its product line-up, including the Continental GT, the Himalayan and the Classic line sold across the world.

Vasdev said the company would file similar suits in other countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy and parts of the Asia-Pacific region, including India.
He claimed that Flash was approached by three senior officials of RE in October 2018 in New Delhi to settle the issue amicably and requested it not to file any suit on the matter. “Flash waited for the outcome of this meeting but Royal Enfield did not address the issue,” he said.

Flash has also sought a permanent injunction against RE, its directors and those acting in privity with them, along with their parents, and subsidiaries, among others from further acts of infringement.

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