TVS Motor, Bajaj Auto move to douse the patent flame

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on October 31, 2019

All pending cases to be dropped

After 12 years of bitter legal battles, two-wheeler makers TVS Motor Company and Bajaj Auto have finally agreed to bury their differences and amicably resolve their dispute over patent issues.

Both the companies on Thursday issued identical statements saying that they entered into a settlement agreement on Thursday to amicably settle a dispute relating to alleged infringement of Bajaj’s patent, defamation suit by TVS Motor against Bajaj and other related proceedings filed against each other, which were pending before the Madras High Court, the Bombay High Court, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, Chennai, and courts in Sri Lanka and Mexico (“Pending Proceedings”).

The release added that TVS Motor and Bajaj Auto have mutually agreed to withdraw the pending proceedings and release each other from all liabilities, claims, demands and actions in respect of the pending proceedings. Neither company is required to pay any compensation or penalty to the other as part of settlement. There will be no impact on the financial position of the companies due to this agreement. The dispute started in 2007 when TVS Motor unveiled its new motorcycle 125cc TVS Flame. Bajaj Auto had then accused TVS of copying its patented DTSi (digital twin spark ignition) technology in the bike. TVS argued that the Flame was fitted with a three-valve engine based on CCVTi (Controlled Combustion Variable Timing Intelligent) technology, which was different from the technology used by Bajaj Auto.

The legal battle intensified with TVS filing a suit under the Indian Patents Act in the Madras High Court to counter Bajaj’s claims on patent infringement. It also filed a defamation suit against Bajaj Auto in the Bombay High Court.

A Supreme Court order restrained TVS Motor from making and selling Flame and directed the Madras High Court to hear all interim applications. In May 2009, the Madras High Court allowed TVS to use its twin-spark ignition technology saying that there was a marked difference between 3-valve configuration of TVS and 2-valve configuration of Bajaj vis-à-vis positioning of the twin plugs in the respective engines, which were quite visible.

Following this order, Bajaj filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the decision to permit the production and sale of the TVS Flame.

Published on October 31, 2019

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