Turns out, Volkswagen could be copying JLR's homework.
Volkswagen seems to be no stranger to the courtroom, with the Dieselgate scandal landing the brand in years worth of hot water relating to 'cheat devices' circumventing diesel emissions tests. The German brand has gone some way to atoning for its sins, turning away from diesel and favoring electric cars, with a slew of electrified models from the brand's corporate umbrella including the VW ID.4, the Porsche Taycan, and the Audi e-tron. But the German marque could be in hot water again, as the US ITC is investigating claims for infringing on patents held by Jaguar Land Rover after the latter filed an official complaint in November this year.
The investigation is the next step in the matter after suits were filed in New Jersey and Delaware. The suits were filed against VW, and subsidiary brands like VW, Porsche, Lamborghini, and Audi, for using "certain vehicle control systems" for off-road driving that JLR believes infringe on its patents. Among the vehicles thought to be implicated are the Lamborghini Urus, Volkswagen Tiguan, and Audi Q8, but the list also includes other SUVs like the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q5, A6 allroad, and the electric e-tron twins. According to JLR, these models "have used JLR's patented inventions without payment or permission," highlighting automatic drive-mode selection systems that can be classified as "improved system[s] for driving a vehicle on different driving surfaces, in particular off-road."
In Jaguar Land Rover products, this is referred to as Terrain Response, which automatically adapts suspension, throttle, gearbox, and other settings to changing road conditions including snow, mud, rocks, and soft sand.
Volkswagen is fully willing to comply but has said that at this stage, it cannot comment on any details of the proceedings. The company also stated that they strongly believe that the claims are unfounded and it will defend its position on the matter.