VW and Feds On Track to Settle; VW to Repair or Buy Back Cheating Vehicles

It’s hard to keep track of all of the developments in the Volkswagen emissions greenwashing scandal, and there’s much to catch up on.

First, the German automaker worked out the framework for potential settlement of a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which filed a civil complaint against Volkswagen in January seeking injunctive relief and monetary penalties for VW’s actions.

The reconciliation happened rather quickly, with VW proposing to settle the case about three months after the suit was filed.  Apparently, VW was eager to move past the scandal and has admitted tried to cheat on the emissions tests.

The parties have already reached an agreement in principle.  As part of the settlement, VW has offered to repair 482,000 diesel vehicles with the defeat device software or buy back or cancel the leases on the vehicles.  The automaker will also set up environmental and consumer protection funds.

The court set a date of June 21st for VW and the DOJ to finalize the settlement agreement and recently confirmed the parties are on track to meet that deadline.

While this particular action may be resolved shortly VW is still fighting other battles, some pertaining to the scandal, others involving different issues.

For example, three VW dealers sued the automaker in a proposed class action saying the company intentionally defrauded dealers by installing the software.

VW is also facing an investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) for patent infringement.  The ITC voted to initiate the investigation at the request of hybrid vehicle technology company Paice.

The investigation centers on alleged infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,237,634, 7,104,347, and 8,214,097.  The three related patents are entitled “Hybrid vehicles” and cover hybrid electric vehicles utilizing an internal combustion engine with series parallel electric motors, regenerative braking, and control circuitry.

The accused products listed in the complaint are the VW Jetta Hybrid, the Audi Q5 Hybrid, the Audi A3 e-tron Hybrid, the Porsche S E-Hybrid, and the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.

The Paice complaint requests a permanent limited exclusion order that would stop the allegedly infringing hybrid vehicles and components from entering the United States.

Eric Lane Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.