The ongoing chip shortage affecting the auto industry is a good reminder that today’s cars are packed with technology. They’re filled with sensors, screens, modems, and more, with much of that tech coming from outside the industry. VW Group has licensed 2G and 3G mobile technology from Acer, the Taiwanese computer maker. However, Acer has now filed a lawsuit against the automaker, accusing it of infringing on some of its other patents.
Acer says in its suit, filed in the US state of Virginia, that VW Group has been installing 4G mobile chips into vehicles, which VW Group has been putting into several Volkswagen models. Allegedly, VW does not have a license to do that. The complaint alleges that the infringed tech has found its way into the new all-electric ID.4, the Atlas, the Golf, the Tiguan, and many more, and Acer is having no more of it. The computer company is seeking damages for past infringements.
VW Group told Reuters that it’s examining the lawsuit before it decides how to proceed. However, the company also said that the allegations were “unfounded” and that the company would “defend our position.” This summer, VW Group signed a licensing deal with Huawei for 4G technology; however, Acer’s accusations date back two years. Volkswagen announced its Car-Net service with 4G connectivity in 2019.
We’re likely to see more of these types of lawsuits in the coming years as automakers navigate licensing deals with various technology suppliers. Missteps and misunderstandings will happen, which could cost an automaker down the road. In October, General Motors, Toyota, and Honda all had lawsuits filed against them for patent infringements related to mobile technology. The success of Acer’s case could spur other suppliers to levy lawsuits against automakers as the fight over intellectual property heats up in the digital era.