Caterpillar Train concept by an Indian Railways’ officer Ashwani Upadhyaya runs into Legal hurdle

The Caterpillar Train, a new concept for an urban mass transit system, was developed by an Indian Railways officer Ashwani Upadhyaya. However Caterpillar Inc slaps Legal Notice against him for use of its company’s name for the train.

The ‘Caterpillar train’ concept by an Indian Railways officer Ashwani Upadhyaya has run into a legal hurdle after US-based company Caterpillar Inc slapped a legal notice against him. Caterpillar Inc, a 110-year-old American multinational giant, slapped a legal notice on the Railway officer, saying that the “Caterpillar” name cannot be used to describe the train system.

The Caterpillar company in its notice, which was served on March 31, has “requested” Upadhyaya to choose a different name as the use of the term ‘Caterpillar’ “infringes its trademark rights” and creates confusion.

“Caterpillar has recently come across articles on launch of Caterpillar Trains invented by you. While our client is excited about the new technology you have invented, they are concerned that you have named it CATERPILLAR,” the notice by the American company says.

The concept of the caterpillar train consists of a network of small, light-weight, self-propelled coaches supported on poles bent into arches. These trains are meant to travel at 100 kmph. Due to their size and light design, trains are meant to penetrate deep into residential areas too, instead of remaining on arterial roads.

Upadhyaya has developed the concept along with his fellow PhD scholar at MIT, Emil Jacob. As reported by the paper last year, the duo had got a global design award from MIT for the concept. While explaining the concept, Upadhyaya told the paper, “The system looks rather like a caterpillar. We were sitting in our lab, looking at the drawings, and it just struck us. Doesn’t it look like a caterpillar, we thought. That’s how it got its name,” he was quoted as saying.

Legal notice also says that Caterpillar, which has assets worth $74 billion, is engaged in the rail sector along with several other fields. It also says that the company is one of the largest integrated globally and diversified suppliers of railroad and transit system products and services.