A Jaguar Land Rover lawsuit seeks to block United States imports of certain Volkswagen Group SUVs, claiming the German automaker illegally copied its Terrain Response system, Bloomberg reported last week.
JLR is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to stop imports for Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, and VW SUVs, claiming their use of systems that change vehicle parameters for different types of terrain represents patent infringement.
"JLR seeks to protect itself and its United States operations from companies that have injected infringing products into the U.S. market that incorporate, without any license from JLR, technology developed by JLR and protected by its patent," Matthew Moore, the automaker's lawyer, said in the filing.
2021 Audi Q8 60 TFSI e
The vehicles specifically targeted by the lawsuit include the Audi Q5, Q7, Q8, E-Tron, and A6 Allroad wagon; Lamborghini Urus; Porsche Cayenne; and VW Tiguan.
The alleged patent infringement primarily concerns Land Rover, which has used Terrain Response, and off-road capability in general, as a key differentiator against a growing number of competitors. Designed to make off-roading easier, the system has modes for different types of terrain, such as "Sand," "Mud and Ruts," and "Rock Crawl," all of which the driver selects with the twist of a knob.
In 2018, JLR sued Bentley, claiming the Drive Dynamics system in the Bentayga (which shares a platform with the Q7, Q8, Urus, and Cayenne) copied Terrain Response. Bentley sought to invalidate JLR's patents in both district court and with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's review board—unsuccessfully. A trial involving that case is scheduled for February, according to Bloomberg.
Notably, JLR is not pursuing litigation against Ford and Jeep, which have terrain systems of their own, though Land Rover likely developed its system while it was still under Ford ownership.