| TOUGH CALL
Mumbai, Sept. 1: Bajaj Auto Ltd, the country’s second largest motorcycle maker, has decided to haul rival TVS Motor Company (TVS) to court for infringing its patented technology.
Bajaj Auto has accused TVS of snitching its intellectual property right by using its Digital Twin Spark Ignition (DTSi) technology on its new 125cc bike called the Flame.
Bajaj Auto claims the DTSi technology was registered in July 2002 under the patent number 195904. It says it uses the technology on all its motorcycle models such as the Pulsar and the Discover and plans to deploy it on its forthcoming bike called the Exceed.
Normal four-stroke motorcycle engines use a single spark plug at one end of the combustion chamber. This results in slow combustion as the spark takes some time to reach the other side of the combustion chamber.
Bajaj Auto’s DTSi technology uses two spark plugs at the two ends of the chamber. This enables faster combustion and efficient burning of the fuel-air mixture. Result: more power and greater mileage.
Amit Nandi, Bajaj Auto’s general manager (marketing), told The Telegraph, “Bajaj Auto is readying its legal response.” Nandi claimed that several Chinese companies had infringed its patented technology, but this was the first time that an Indian rival was doing so.
He said the twin spark plugs were generally used by motorcycle engines with greater capacities. Bajaj Auto was the first to successfully use the DTSi technology in an engine with a small capacity.
Nandi argued that the TVS patent violation was on three counts: in terms of the purpose for which it was being used, the manner in which it was done and the kind of customers who were being targeted.
Although TVS officials were not available for comment, sources said the company had not infringed anyone’s patent. TVS had said the Flame was powered by an engine using CC-VTi technology, which contains two different ports.
Bajaj Auto today announced that two-wheeler sales had dipped 6 per cent in August at 170,203 units against 182,013 a year ago. Sales of motorcycles fell 7 per cent at 167,483 units. The company said there had been a sharp fall in the sales of 100cc motorcycles, which was largely attributed to product fatigue — a phenomenon that weighed on the entire industry.
The company said it had started production of its 125cc DTSi motorcycle at Waluj in Aurangabad with sales of 20,000 units targeted in September. The company expects production and sales of this model to top 50,000 units in November by when it expects motorcycle sales to nose ahead of year-ago levels.
With the launch of the new model, almost 75 per cent of Bajaj Auto’s motorcycle portfolio will be in the more profitable 125cc–250cc segment.