BERLIN (Reuters) -- Volkswagen Group is concerned about a possible unauthorized use of some of its patents by Chinese joint venture partner FAW and will protect its patents rigorously, CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Handelsblatt.
"If there are open questions on patents, then we will discuss those with our partner and certainly not accept this," the German newspaper quoted Winterkorn as saying in an interview published on Thursday. "We will protect our intellectual property with all rigour, also in China."
"The FAW factories concerned are located in Changchun," the CEO said. "We're looking at this very closely and will examine things on site," said Winterkorn who is visiting China as part of a German delegation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
VW, Europe's biggest carmaker, was the first overseas auto manufacturer to enter China three decades ago. The company plans to spend 14 billion euros ($17.54 billion) through its joint ventures on new plants and products in the Asian nation through 2016.
VW plans to spend $290 million on a new transmission plant in the Chinese town of Tianjin as part of a project that could entail a total of 927 million euros of investment and create about 1,400 new jobs, a VW official said on Thursday.
A ground-breaking ceremony in Tianjin, south of Beijing, is planned on Friday.
VW, which boosted deliveries in China, its single biggest market, by almost 18 percent to a record 2.3 million autos last year, operates 11 assembly and component plants in the country.