Land Rover’s problems with the Volkswagen Group began in 2016 with the Bentley Bentayga and its drive mode selector. Since then, the British carmaker has attempted to negotiate with VW. Following those failed negotiations, the British carmaker decided to file four lawsuits in the U.S. aiming to ban SUVs from the Volkswagen Group equipped with an off-road mode. According to Car and Driver, Land Rover alleges that VW violated its patent in plenty of SUVs from Audi, Porsche, and Lamborghini.
Land Rover first had an issue with the Bentley Bentayga
For the release of the 2016 Bentley Bentayga, VW included various driving modes. Car and Driver report that Land Rover filed a patent for its Terrain Response system with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2003. Subsequently, it was approved later in 2008. In short, the system optimizes major components such as the air suspension, differential locks, throttle, and transmission tuning for various surfaces, says Car and Driver. Most importantly, the system is displayed by icons on the dashboard depicting various scenarios such as grass, gravel, snow, or mud.
According to Car and Driver, the center console of the Bentley Bentayga features a drive mode selector. Modes such as Comfort, Sport, and Custom are completely fine. Land Rover took issue specifically with the Bentayga’s off-road modes, says Car and Driver. These include images of various driving scenarios such as sand, snow, or mud. Furthermore, the Bentayga’s system works quite similarly to the patents issued by Land Rover, altering the same major powertrain components.
Four new lawsuits were filed in the U.S. last week
Since Bentley claimed it did not violate any patent, Land Rover decided to reissue its U.S. patent, says Car and Driver. In short, the reissue aimed to point out what components Bentley was allegedly copying specifically. Shortly after, an infringement letter was also sent to Porsche claiming the Cayenne was infringing the same patent, according to Car and Driver. In short, the focus of the complaints began working its way down the VW Group ladder, finding all possible infringements.
Car and Driver report that Land Rover also sent two infringement letters to Lamborghini and Audi. In response, Bentley allegedly put forth a motion to dismiss the case, attempting to declare the reissued patent invalid.
Last week, Land Rover filed four new lawsuits against Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini, says Car and Driver. The goal of these lawsuits is the outright ban of VW Group SUVs being sold in the U.S. that feature this off-road system. In total, Car and Driver report that the alleged offending vehicles are the Cayenne, Urus, Tiguan, A6 Allroad, Q5, Q7, and Q8.
Will the U.S. ban the sale of VW’s SUVs?
As it stands, all of the Land Rover lawsuits have yet to be resolved. Given this, the outcome remains completely unknown. However, as Car and Driver points out, the likely scenario is that the VW Group will settle with the British carmaker. This should lead to more discussions and negotiations shortly. Regardless, it looks like this situation will be quite expensive for the company still recovering from Dieselgate.