ITC judge finds Garmin violated orders in Navico patent case

Posted on Written by Reagan Haynes

An administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission made an initial determination in the enforcement proceeding brought by Navico against Garmin.

The judge concluded that Garmin’s sale of certain DownVü sonar products violated the ITC’s December 2015 orders arising from a previous Navico-Garmin ITC investigation.

The judge found that Garmin violated the cease-and-desist orders issued in 2015 regarding the importation and sale of products featuring DownVü scanning sonar technology, according to a statement issued by Navico today.

The judge recommends a fine of $37 million.

Garmin, which will appeal the decision, said in a statement that it disagrees with the initial determination and will seek review by the ITC, which is expected to issue a final determination in August.

“For the third time, we have prevailed in our patent disputes with Garmin,” Navico CEO Leif Ottosson said in the statement issued by that company.

“This time, an administrative law judge determined not only that Garmin has infringed Navico’s patents, but also that there was evidence of bad faith. As far as we know, the recommended fine is the largest ever, so it is clear that the administrative law judge found Garmin’s disregard for the cease-and-desist orders particularly troublesome.”

“As we have stated throughout this process, the ruling confirms that Garmin must cease all importations and sales of the offending products in the distribution channels, and failure to do so means that the company continues to violate the ITC orders,” Ottosson added. “Garmin says that they will appeal the ruling, but as with previous appeals we feel confident that we once again will prevail. In any event, Garmin must immediately conform to the ITC’s orders, and another appeal doesn’t change this fact.”

Garmin disputed that, saying the ruling would not affect Garmin customers and dealers.

“Even if affirmed by the ITC, the ruling has no impact on Garmin’s customers or dealers,” said Andrew Etkind, Garmin’s vice president and general counsel, in a statement issued by Garmin. “Additionally, the ruling does not impact in any way Garmin products with ClearVü sonar functionality, which have been on the market since 2016.”

Garmin declined to make any additional comment.

It was the most recent decision in a long dispute between the companies.

In August 2016 the ITC issued a limited exclusion order modifying the 2015 ruling blocking the sale of Garmin sonar devices.

“The modified ITC order applies only to Garmin and has no impact on any existing distributor, dealer or retailer inventory or any products already purchased by our customers,” Garmin spokeswoman Carly Hysell told Trade Only Today at the time.

The ITC issued two strongly worded public opinions explaining that decision in September of 2016.

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