In a suit that was ended just before it was about to get ugly, Automotive News reports that Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen Group have reached a settlement agreement over VW’s alleged copying of their off-road tech. The suit was part of an effort to block the import and sale of VW, Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini SUVs and crossovers. No details of the settlement were released.
The suit stems from JLR accusing VW group of using an off-road feature that was too similar to the brand’s patented Terrain Response System.
The dispute was over an invention in which a simple turn of a knob instructs the vehicle systems to adapt to different terrains. It’s a key feature in Jaguar’s F-Pace and Land Rover Discovery vehicles. JLR’s Land Rover division, the original maker of rugged all-terrain vehicles, filed the complaints after super-luxury automakers began moving into the utility vehicle market.
JLR first went after Bentley back in 2018 over the Bentgaya and what Bentley called Drive Dynamics. The system is similar in that it uses different terrain settings (Snow and Wet Grass, Dirt and Gravel, Mud and Trail, and Sand) that are controlled via a knob in the center console. In November of 2020, JLR went after specific models, looking to stop the sale of eight different VW Group vehicles that use similar systems. From Car & Driver:
In July, according to the lawsuit documents, Land Rover sent two more infringement letters to Audi and Lamborghini, specifically for the ANIMA system on the Lamborghini Urus and for Audi Drive Select on the Q5, Q7, and e-tron. Bentley shot back in October. In a motion to dismiss the case, the automaker said Land Rover’s entire 2018 patent should be declared invalid.
Since the Terrain Response System’s introduction, JLR’s seen similar tech pop up industry-wide, and it looks like it’s here to stay.