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BAJAJ Auto, the country’s second largest maker of two-wheelers, plans to sue Chennai-based TVS Motors for alleged infringement of intellectual property rights on technology that is used in most Bajaj bikes.

Bajaj Auto claims that TVS has used its digital twin spark ignition technology (DTSi) in recent TVS models including the 125 cc bike, Flame, that was launched earlier this week.

“We have examined the TVS product, which has same ‘usage, size, and purpose’ like our DTSi engine,” said Bajaj Auto CEO (two wheelers) S. Shridhar. “We have neither sold nor licensed this technology to anybody and as a clear case of infringement of intellectual property rights, we will take a suitable legal action against TVS Motors.”

Most Bajaj Auto models such as the Pulsar and the Discover are based on DTSI technology, that uses two spark plugs for better fuel combustion and efficiency. “Usually most bikes have one spark plug...our engines have two plugs. This makes fuel combustion complete and gives high power and fuel efficiency and there is no unburned fuel left,” said Bajaj Auto vice president (marketing) Amit Nandi.

TVS Motors however denied the charge. “TVS has not infringed on anyone’s technology. It’s our own technology developed by years of research at our Hosur facility,” said TVS Motors spokesperson Cecil K Dewars.

Senior executives of TVS Motors said that the company has been spending about 3% of its total sales, or about Rs 50 crore, on R&D, which ”resulted in the development of the new engine.”

“A substantial investment on R&D in the past three to four years has led to the creation of the 3-valve engine,” said an executive, adding that “the Controlled Combustion Variable Timing Intelligent technology (CC-VTi), has also been introduced in our new 125-cc bike Flame. It has been developed in collaboration with AVL Austria and there is no question of any imitation.”

Bajaj Auto claims to have been awarded the global and Indian patent for the DTSi technology for small engines, on July 16, 2002. The patent is for a period of 20 years. “We are the only company in the world to have the DTSi technology for small engines of 125cc to 200cc,” said Mr Shridhar. “DTSi is our indigenously developed product and is sold in almost 50% of our bikes,” he added.

This would be the second time in a year that Bajaj Auto would be taking legal action over infringement of its trademark rights. Early in February, the Pune-based auto major took legal action against Chinese bike makers Taian Chiran Machinery Company, which had cloned its flagship Pulsar bike.

The DTSI technology has been at the core of Bajaj’s successes over the past four to five years, mainly due to better fuel efficiency. Apart from a cleaner burn, twin spark plugs also give less unburnt fuel in the exhaust. The technology is vital for high speed bikes as the second spark plug — the additional one — helps by completing the fuel combustion better and giving more torque to the bike.

In another development, Bajaj said its August sales fell with the company shipping 195,707 motorcycles, scooters and three-wheeled vehicles, compared to 208,163 a year ago.

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