Maryland-based Paice LLC is suing Volkswagen for infringement of its patents, and is seeking an order to block VW hybrids from being imported.
Paice says it worked with Volkswagen from 1999 to 2004, “teaching its patented hybrid technology to VW,” according to the complaint files with the International Trade Commission. After being taught this intellectual property, says Paice, VW (and subsidiaries Audi and Porsche) used all of this patented technology without licensing it.
Notable is the first VW hybrid didn’t arrive until 2010.
Paice was one of the first companies to begin research into hybrid technology following the energy crisis of the 70s. It is now the dominant holder of patents critical to hybrid systems used by major manufacturers today.
In previous disputes, Paice has already successfully sued Ford, Toyota and Hyundai, getting nearly $29 million from Hyundai alone just four months ago. Ford licensed one of the Paice technologies in the past, but is now fighting to free itself from that licensing.
This lawsuit is slightly different from the others in that Paice claims to have worked with Volkswagen directly.
What’s more, it comes at an especially bad time for VW, as the automaker tries to shift focus in the U.S. away from its diesel cars and onto the electrified vehicles in its lineup.