Jaguar has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission seeking to block the sale of Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, and Volkswagen SUVs over the technology it says it owns. The technology is patented as “Terrain Response.” Jaguar says those manufacturers are using it without its permission.
Terrain Response technology is one of Jaguar and Land Rover’s primary selling points
Terrain Response technology is one of the primary selling points. Jaguar’s F-Pace and Land Rover’s Discovery SUVs use it to “negotiate a broad range of surfaces” according to Bloomberg. “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,” Jaguar’s lawyer, Matthew Moore, said in the filing.
The specific SUV models Jaguar is trying to stop companies from selling here in the US are the Porsche Cayenne; Lamborghini Urus; Audi Q8, Q7, Q5, A6 Allroad, and e-Tron SUVs; and VW Tiguan models. In defending Jaguar’s request to stop these vehicles from being sold here it says that there are numerous other SUVs buyers can choose from. So banning them doesn’t impinge on consumers’ choices.
Jaguar’s strategy for trying to block the sale of these SUVs is not a strategy at all
The strategy for trying to block the sale of these SUVs is not a strategy at all. Rather, it is the function of the ITC because it has no ability to award damages to litigants. But it has the legal power to block imports coming into the US. Typical ITC investigations move much quicker than federal lawsuits. Usually, these investigations take under two years to wrap up. So this is why a company would choose to file with the ITC over filing in a federal court.
Still, Jaguar has also filed lawsuits in federal court seeking payment for using its technology. But these lawsuits will be held off until first a decision is made by the ITC. The ITC is an independent body that generally investigates patent and unfair trade allegations.
This would cripple companies like Volkswagen
Right now it is too early to expect responses from any of the accused companies. So, we’ll have to see how they publicly respond to the allegations. But obviously, if these models were to be banned from selling in the US it would cripple companies like Volkswagen. It uses much of the profits from the sale of its SUVs to fund its drive into future electric and autonomous vehicle development.
In both 2018 and 2019, VW sold over 100,000 Tiguan SUVs in the US each year. Audi sold almost 70,000 Q5 SUVs each year in both 2018 and 2019 in the US. And in 2019 Porsche sold almost 20,000 Cayenne SUVs here. So any way you look at it Volkswagen would be hit hard with such a ban.