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VW Must Defend Claims It Infringed on Patents

KNOXVILLE (CN) - Volkswagen must defend claims the exhaust treatment devices installed in its diesel-powered vehicles infringe on another company's patents.

EmeraChem Holdings sued Volkswagen in the federal court in Knoxville on March 31, 2014, claiming the automaker directly and indirectly infringed on five of its patents related to the treatment of exhaust gases.

Volkswagen moved for dismissal of the lawsuit contending EmeraChem's claims were not specific enough. The plaintiff countered this argument by filing its own motion seeking permission to amend its complaint.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Pamela Reeves sided with EmeraChem.

"Volkswagen's statement that it is 'in the dark about how they are alleged to have contributed to the infringement of the patents' strikes the court as hyperbolic," Judge Reeves wrote. "Volkswagen knows what its NOx storage catalysts and exhaust diagnostic systems do and what EmeraChem's patents claim."

The automaker also argued that claims were not specific enough on the grounds that EmeraChem failed to provide an exclusive list of infringing vehicles by year and model number.

But here again, Jude Reeves disagreed.

"Such specificity is not necessary at this stage of the litigation," she wrote. "After the parties engage in discovery, the issues many be narrowed, and a more final tally of infringing products will be developed."

In its amended complaint, which it filed the afternoon of Reeves' ruling, EmeraChem says the vehicles subject to its claims are the diesel Golf, Jetta, Jetta SportsWagon, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, and Passat.

The Plaintiff is represented by Michael Bradford of Luedeka, Neely & Graham PC of Knoxville. Volkswagon's legal team is led by Seth Atlas and Andrew Fish of Locke Lord LLP in New York.

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