Paice (earlier post), an early developer of hybrid vehicle technology, has filed a complaint against the Volkswagen Group with the US International Trade Commission (ITC). The complaint alleges patent infringement by VW, Audi and Porsche and asks the ITC to issue an exclusion order that would prohibit the companies from importing certain hybrid vehicles, including the VW Jetta Hybrid, Audi A3 e-tron Hybrid, Audi Q5 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.
In December 2015, Paice reached an agreement to license all of its hybrid vehicle technology to Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp, ending its legal action against those companies. Paice has now licensed all or part of its hybrid vehicle technology portfolio to Toyota, Hyundai/Kia, and Ford.
(Paice is currently involved in a patent infringement lawsuit against Ford, which signed a limited licensing agreement in 2010 that applied only to Paice’s first patent. When the companies were unable to reach a licensing agreement on subsequent patents, Paice was forced to pursue legal action in 2014. That lawsuit has been stayed pending the resolution of inter partes review proceedings before the US Patent Office.)
In the complaint against the Volkswagen Group, Paice said that from 2001 to 2004, Paice engineers spent more than 350 days in Germany sharing its patented hybrid technology with Volkswagen. Paice performed extensive modeling and provided VW all of Paice’s computer modeling and control algorithms. Paice said that VW abruptly ended the collaboration and never licensed Paice’s technology.
Now that the VW Group has been forced to stop selling its current diesel vehicle models in the US, it has committed to focusing a large part of its future development on hybrid vehicles for the VW, Audi and Porsche brands, Paice said. Given its refusal to license Paice’s technology, Paice believes VW, Audi and Porsche must be excluded from importing hybrid vehicles into the US.
The Volkswagen Group said in response to a query that “We do not comment on ongoing litigation matters.”
Paice is the creation of inventor Dr. Alex Severinsky, who founded the company in 1992 with the support of the University of Maryland incubator program. Paice has been awarded 29 US and foreign patents on hybrid technologies.