U.S. opens probe into whether VW vehicles infringe Jaguar Land Rover patents

FILE PHOTO: A logo of German carmaker Volkswagen is seen on a car parked on a street in Paris, France, July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said on Monday it is opening in investigation into whether German automaker Volkswagen AG infringed on patents held by Jaguar Land Rover for a system used for off-road driving.

In November, Jaguar Land Rover, a unit of Tata Motors, filed a complaint with the ITC seeking to prevent the import of some VW Porsche, Lamborghini and Audi models with “certain vehicle control systems” that allegedly infringe on its patents.

The models include the Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne and Audi’s Q8, Q7, Q5, A6 Allroad, and e-tron vehicles and the VW Tiguan. The ITC said it has made no decision on the merits.

VW said in a statement it was examining the action and determining its next steps.

“We will of course cooperate with investigating authorities. While we cannot comment on any details of the proceedings, we strongly believe that the claims have no merit and will robustly defend our position,” VW said.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said the vehicles “have used JLR’s patented inventions without payment or permission” notably a patent for an “improved system for driving a vehicle on different driving surfaces, in particular off-road.”

JLR says its Terrain Response technology uses the patented technology to maximize performance on off-road driving surfaces, including grass, snow, mud, sand and rocks.

Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Chris Reese and Lincoln Feast.