TVS, Bajaj Auto 'resolve' 12-year patent dispute

CHENNAI: More than ten years after two local manufacturers of two-wheelers - TVs Motor and Auto Baja — had an ugly spat over the use of two spark plugs in an engine, both companies agreed to “amicably settle” the dispute. In September 2007, Bajaj had called TVs a copycat when the Chennai-headquartered firm had launched its 125cc Flame motorcycle.

After a brief flurry of threats and counterthreats, the matter went to various courts, intellectual property appellate boards, and also to Sri Lankan and Mexican courtrooms. TVs had also sued Bajaj for defamation and claimed Rs 250 crore.

The bone of contention was the digital twin spark ignition, or DTSi — the technology that uses two igniters instead of one to enhance fuel efficiency. While Bajaj claimed it owned the patent, TVs said its engine for Flame was developed along with globally renowned engine research institute AVL, Austria and was totally different from the one used by Auto Baja .

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TVs also said its technology didn’t infringe the patent since its engine had three valves, which regulate the inflow of fuel and air and outflow of exhaust gases, compared to two valves, for which Bajaj had a patent. Bajaj rejected that and said the use of a third valve was a neutral element in the engine as it did not enhance quality.

In a terse statement to stock exchanges, both Bajaj and TVs Motor on Thursday said, they 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”.