Volkswagen is under investigation by the US International Trade Commission, as there are some claims that the automaker has infringed hybrid electric vehicle patents owned by Paice LLC.
Paice LLC is a Baltimore-based company focused on hybrid technologies, founded in the early 1990s by the Soviet electrical engineer Alex Severinsky, claiming it holds 29 US and foreign hybrid-related patents. The firm filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission on April 18 against the Volkswagen Group, alleging a patent infringement by the German automaker and demanding a stop-sale of certain vehicles, such as VW Jetta Hybrid, Audi A3 e-tron Hybrid, Audi Q5 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid. And this week, the commission announced that it voted to conduct an investigation on Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche over the matter.
Paice says it currently has global licensing agreements with Toyota, Hyundai and Kia, while it also previously licensed some of Ford’s hybrid technology. The Baltimore company is still under dispute with Ford over some patents, a litigation that has started back in 2014.
“From 2001 to 2004, Paice engineers spent over 350 days in Germany sharing its patented hybrid technology with Volkswagen,” the firm claimed. “Paice performed extensive modeling and provided VW all of Paice’s computer modeling and control algorithms. But after learning everything it needed from Paice, VW abruptly ended the collaboration and never licensed Paice’s technology.”