As the competition heats up, so does the potential for lawsuits.
For many years the most luxurious off-road capable SUV you could buy was a Land Rover Range Rover. Today, the Bentley Bentayga is on the scene and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan will go on sale soon. Now that the competition is greater than ever for Jaguar Land Rover, it only makes sense for the automaker to study its rivals inside and out. And lo and behold, JLR believes the Bentley Bentayga infringes on its patent regarding its Terrain Response technology.
According to Cars UK and IPWire, JLR sued Bentley Motors earlier this month in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, over a patent infringement. JLR claims Bentley's All Terrain Specification comes with a Drive Dynamics system that offers Snow, Ice, and Wet Grass, Dirt and Gravel, Mud and Trail and Sand Modes – nearly the same as its own Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud and Ruts, Sand, and Rocks modes. As part of the suit, JLR filed a 30-page complaint seeking monetary damages, attorney's fees, and a permanent injunction against Bentley. This likely won't be easy to win, let alone prove.
Although the Bentayga launched only in 2016, JLR claims its reputation for "innovative and technologically advanced four-wheel drive Sports Utility Vehicles dates back over 70 years... and its Terrain Response system is one of those innovations." Unless JLR can prove that specific technology was directly copied, we don't really see how the court will take its side. Plenty of automakers build SUVs with their own off-road systems. Competition dictates for any modern system to be able to accommodate all of those aforementioned terrain conditions. VW/Bentley should not have to come up with new words for Snow, Gravel, and the like.