Is A Harley-Davidson X440 Trademark Tussle Brewing In India?

9 months, 3 weeks ago - 17 September 2023, RideApart
Is A Harley-Davidson X440 Trademark Tussle Brewing In India?
Electric two-wheeler startup Ultraviolette applied for an X44 trademark prior to Harley partner Hero MotoCorp's X 440 application.

The highly anticipated launch of the Harley-Davidson X440 in India went extremely well, by all accounts. Initial reports of pre-bookings were completely positive, if somewhat unspecific. By August 8, 2023, we learned that over 25,000 of the bikes had been prebooked during the first month. That’s a number that any OEM would probably be turning figurative cartwheels about. 

However, it appears that there could be the small matter of a trademark issue brewing behind the scenes. Are you familiar with Indian electric two-wheeler startup Ultraviolette? Its first model, the F77, has been in the news for some time—first as it headed toward production, and most recently for setting a long-distance electric motorcycle travel record in both the India Book of Records and the Asia Book of Records. 

While Ultraviolette may be a startup, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t planning for the future in ways both public and private. On September 27, 2022, the company applied for a trademark on the name “X44” with the Government of India’s Intellectual Property office. It received approval and was published in the office’s official journal on July 17, 2023, where it maintains a status of “Accepted and Advertised.

If you took one look at that Ultraviolette trademark and had the sense that trouble might be brewing, you’d be correct. Indian publication CarandBike was first to report that Ultraviolette has officially registered its opposition to the X 440 trademark filed by Hero MotoCorp, which manufactures the popular new X 440 for Harley-Davidson. RideApart can confirm that this is the case, as detailed in these screenshots we’ve captured. 

Hero MotoCorp, as it happens, applied for the X 440 trademark on November 8, 2022—about a month and a half after Ultraviolette applied for its X44 trademark. However, it was published in the office’s official journal on June 12, 2023. That’s slightly more than a month before the Ultraviolette X44 trademark was published in a different edition of the journal. You can see the dates, journal volume information, and all details in our screenshots. 

The trademark opposition process in India has a certain procedure that must be followed. The rules say that the party lodging a trademark opposition must file the appropriate notice within four months of the publication date of a trademark in the official journal. Since it’s September 12, 2023, as we’re writing this, it’s clear that Ultraviolette has met that deadline. 

Next, the applicant of the trademark that’s been opposed—in this case, Hero MotoCorp—will receive notice of the opposition. It will then have up to two months to file a counterstatement. Should the applicant fail to meet that deadline, the trademark application that has been opposed is considered abandoned. 

If the applicant with the trademark that has been opposed by another party chooses to respond, the next stage is hearings, where evidence is presented on both sides. Depending on how a case shakes out, there may also be appeals after the initial hearings have passed. 

Hero MotoCorp is a massive company, so it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that it has a flotilla of lawyers on hand precisely to deal with trademark and patent issues. Its partner in this venture, Harley-Davidson, almost certainly does. 

Ultraviolette is significantly smaller than either of the companies it’s opposing, and also hasn’t been around as long as either one, having been founded in 2016. It’s unclear how this story may end up, but we’ll be sure to report back on any updates as we have them.