SUPREME COURT STOPS TVS FROM ROLLING OUT ITS PRODUCT FLAME MOTORBIKE IN THE MARKET ON THE PLEA OF BAJAJ AUTO

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THE Supreme Court has restrained TVS Motors from rolling out its product Flame motorbike in the market on the plea of Bajaj Auto. However, the company can go ahead with the production of 125 cc Flame in its original form, the engine with two spark plugs and three valves, said apex court.

“No finished product would leave the respondent’s (TVS) warehouse”, said a bench comprising Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Justice Aftab Alam. The court also issued notice to the Chennai-based TVS motorbike company seeking its stand on the issue. Both the companies are at loggerheads over the 125cc Flame motorcylce. Bajaj is claiming that the twin spark technology used by TVS for its Flame bike impinges upon its patent right. Senior counsel CA Sunderam and advocate Purnima Bhatt on behalf of Bajaj Auto said, the company holds the patent right in respect of its invention titled, ‘an improved internal combustion engine working on four stroke principle’, since July 16, 2002. But the manufacture of Flame by the rival company impinges on its patent right, submitted Mr Sunderam.

This was, however, opposed by TVS. Senior counsel AM Singhvi and advocate Gaurav Goyal on behalf of TVS said, the use of the technology for Flame motorbike has nothing to do with the patent right of the petitioner’s company.

TVS counsels seeking permission of the court to go ahead with the production of Flame said that the company was willing to furnish an undertaking not to sell the product in the meantime.

The court then accepting the plea, passed the order. Bajaj Auto had moved the apex court challenging the division bench order of the Madras High Court. The high court had restrained the company from interfering with TVS Motors’ manufacture and marketing of Flame motorbike. The bench had set aside an earlier order passed by the single judge bench of the high court which had prevented TVS from using an engine with two spark plugs and three valves.

TVS Motor was forced to re-launch Flame last year in the wake of an engine technology patent row with Bajaj Auto. The re-launched version came with a single spark plug, replacing the twin spark plug that triggered the legal tussle between the companies. However, on an appeal of TVS, the division bench of the high court had said, the product manufactured by TVS has a distinctive feature, which is different from Bajaj’s patent. So, the bench set aside the order of the single judge and discontinued the injunction granted by him.

The division bench had allowed the the application of TVS Motor against Bajaj from interfering in the manufacturing and marketing of Flame with 3 valves and 2 spark plugs.

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