TVS Motor has roped in prominent SJM leader S Gurumurthy to mediate in its ongoing patent tussle with Bajaj Auto. Both companies are keen to settle the issue without litigation, and serious intermediation is underway. Mr Gurumurthy was earlier involved in the 2003 agreement hammered out between the Rahul Bajaj and Shishir Bajaj factions in the Bajaj family dispute. That agreement has now been terminated.
According to sources in the auto industry, both Bajaj Auto and TVS have indicated that they are “willing to talk and settle the issue and not go in for litigation”. When contacted, Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj and TVS Motor MD Venu Srinivasan refused to comment.
After the flurry of charges and counter-charges early last month, both sides have now gone quiet as they look to resolve the issue. Bajaj feels that TVS should share the technical drawings of its forthcoming launch, Flame, so that both parties can figure out if there is any patent violation. The Pune-based company feels it has a strong case in the patent revocation issue. TVS feels it can withdraw the revocation action, if Bajaj accepts it is not violating any patent. “If they settle, it’s fine otherwise TVS may press for a defamation case,” says an industry source.
Sources said “people are talking on both sides” and both companies have now adopted a wait-and-see approach. There is a lot of intermediation going on, and litigation is not the first choice for either company. Says an auto industry source: “In TVS, the view seems to be that the matter will get settled. If it does not, all options are there.”
Sources said the two CEOs, who have not really met that often, share healthy, though competitive, regard for each other.