When the Volkswagen Group launched the 2016 Bentyaga, it essentially started an 8-year war with Jaguar Land Rover. The two companies went to court over an alleged patent breach. Jaguar Land Rover claimed that VW used vital parts of their Terrain Response technology without permission, and was looking to ban the import of select VW models to the U.S. The case has now been settled, but only in certain jurisdictions.
Terrain Response Technology
Jaguar Land Rover’s Terrain Response technology isn’t a new system. This brand has first implemented this feature in 2005. According to the patent submitted in 2003, the Terrain Response technology utilizes the ABS, differential locks, throttle, and other systems on the vehicle to come up with driving solutions for different types of terrains. JLR’s original design comes with 5 modes — all dedicated to off-road driving on gravel, mud, rocks, and sand.
The system used in Bentyaga features 4 on-road modes and 4 off-road solutions. Not only are Bentyaga’s off-road modes similar to what Terrain Response technology offers, but they seem to work the same way.
Bentyaga was just the tip of the iceberg for Jaguar Land Rover. Volkswagen Group has used its system in a number of other vehicles produced by its subsidiaries, including various Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini models.
Jaguar Land Rover initiated the litigation process by issuing a number of cease and desist letters to VW and its brands. VW wasn’t impressed. JLR went to update their patent, which closed a loophole that Bentley, a member of the VW group, could have used to borrow the system for the Bentyaga. As soon as the patent update process was done, JLR had filed a lawsuit against Bentley.
In 2020, Jaguar Land Rover had filed several more lawsuits against VW subsidiaries. The company went so far as to file a complaint with the International Trade Commission, requesting that a number of VW Group vehicles be banned from import to the United States.
Fast-forward to today, and Jaguar Land Rover-VW lawsuits have been settled in Germany and the US. However, their cases in Delaware, New Jersey, and Virginia are still ongoing. Additionally, the complaint filed with the International Trade Commission is still very much alive.
As of this moment, neither of the two sides were open for comments. If the ITC case goes through, the importation of Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q series, A6 Allroad, VW Tiguan, and Lamborghini Urus could be affected by the decision.