The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today reversed a December 2015 finding by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that Garmin had infringed Navico patents related to downscan sonar.
Specifically, the Federal Circuit ruled that two of Navico’s patents were invalid and that Garmin’s DownVü sonar does not infringe a third Navico patent.
The Federal Circuit’s decision not only reverses the ITC’s original orders, but supersedes all related rulings by U.S. Customs and the ITC, including an initial determination that Garmin should be subject to a $37 million fine for selling DownVü products. Garmin is now free to import and sell any and all sonar products.
“The Federal Circuit’s sweeping decision, finding that Navico’s downscan technology was an obvious modification of old sonar systems, puts an end to Navico’s unfounded and vicious patent war against Garmin,” said Andrew Etkind, Garmin’s vice president and general counsel. “Not only does the Federal Circuit’s decision eliminate the ongoing disputes at the ITC, it renders Navico’s other lawsuits in Oklahoma and Texas without merit.”
Today's ruling is the latest in a years-long legal battle between the two marine electronics giants over patents.
“This ruling confirms our strong belief that Navico’s patent claims were not supported by the facts,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s chief executive officer. “Despite Navico’s flood of lawsuits, and harassment of Garmin’s dealers, distributors, and customers, the industry stood by us during this difficult and unnecessary fight and for that, we are extremely grateful. We look forward to a great 2017 filled with exciting new Garmin products.”
In a statement released Wednesday, a Navico executive said the company was reviewing how to proceed in the wake of the ruling.
“Obviously, we are disappointed in the appellate court’s decision following four rulings in Navico’s favor on this matter,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO, Navico. “As a result, we are analyzing this particular determination,and we are currently reviewing our options for moving forward.”
To read the entire ruling issued by the Federal Circuit, click here.