Kolkata: Exide Industries, the leading storage battery manufacturer, is finally buying a Gujarat-based plant of Tudor India, the Indian arm of US-based Exide Technologies. The deal size though is not known but it has assumed significance because this will mark the end of the 20-year-long battle on the ownership of the Exide brand in India between the US and Indian owners of the trademark. It is also among very few cases where an Indian company has successfully thwarted a move by a multinational giant to intrude into the domestic market.
Exide India on Monday has informed the stock exchange that “the company has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Tudor India Pvt Ltd towards acquisition of its immovable assets and movable assets of its factory situated at Plot No. 10/1, Kamalpur, NH No 8, Taluka Prantij, District Sabarkantha, Gujarat”. “The above asset purchase transaction is expected to complete within a month,” the battery major has said. The plant of Tudor was non-operational for the last few months. Tudor India is the present name of Exide Technologies in India.
The dispute between these two companies dates back to 1997 when Exide Technologies of the US entered the Indian market after liberalisation, where India’s Exide Industries was already present over the last few decades selling automobile batteries under the “EXIDE” trademark.
As soon as the US-based company started its operation in India, Exide Industries had filed a suit for infringement of trademark in the Delhi high court. After a significantly long legal conflict, the court in 2012 restrained Exide Technologies from using “Exide” trademark in India. Exide Technologies further filed an appeal to the division Bench against the judgement of 2012.
Finally, following a long-drawn legal battle that had reached the Supreme Court, Exide Industries has gone for an out-of-the-court settlement with global battery major Exide Technologies Inc. As per the 2017 settlement, Exide Technologies agreed not to use Exide brand name in India.
According to sources, Exide US later proposed the use of the trademark Prestolite to market its products in India. The injunction sought by Exide India was to prevent them from using anything describing the origin, or their link with Exide US’ corporate name and the fact that Prestolite has links with Exide.
Exide Industries had claimed that the earliest registration of the trademark Exide happened in 1942 and by an agreement of 1978 made between Chloride Group and Exide India, Chloride Group plc had agreed to assign and transfer the trademark Exide to the Indian company. Currently, Exide has a turnover of Rs 9,500 crore.
Source: THE TIMES OF INDIA