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Appeals court overturns patent-infringement ruling against Garmin

A federal appeals court overturned a ruling that said Garmin infringed on Navico’s patents.

A federal appeals court overturned a ruling that said Garmin infringed on Navico’s patents, allowing Garmin to once again sell any and all of its sonar products in the United States.

Garmin International said today that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a December 2015 finding by the International Trade Commission that Garmin had infringed Navico patents related to downscan sonar.

Specifically, the Federal Circuit ruled in a 17-page decision that two of Navico’s patents were invalid and that Garmin’s DownVü sonar does not infringe a third Navico patent.

Navico could not be immediately reached for comment.

Garmin said the Federal Circuit’s decision not only reverses the ITC’s original orders, but also 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 said it 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,”  Garmin vice president and general counsel Andrew Etkind said in a statement. “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.”

“This ruling confirms our strong belief that Navico’s patent claims were not supported by the facts,” Garmin CEO Cliff Pemble said. “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.”

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