Skip to main content

Federal agency rules Garmin violated Navico patents

Ruling prohibits Garmin from importing, selling, advertising and aiding or assisting distributors or retailers in selling DownVu products.

Norwegian marine electronics manufacturer Navico said today that the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Swiss competitor Garmin’s DownVu scanning sonar products violate Navico’s U.S. patents for DownScan Imaging technology.

The ruling prohibits Garmin from importing, selling, advertising and aiding or assisting distributors or retailers in selling all of its infringing DownVu products, including the echo, echoMAP and GPSMAP products, with their respective transducers, Navico said in a statement.

“It has been a matter that we have pursued now for a year,” Navico CEO Leif Ottosson told Trade Only Today.

Specifically, the ITC issued an order barring Garmin and its distributors from selling or aiding others in the sale of the infringing products and has issued an exclusion order directing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to reject their importation, according to Navico.

Navico said Garmin’s DownVu Products are manufactured and imported from Taiwan.

“While all ITC orders have a 60-day period before taking full effect, effective immediately resellers of Garmin DownVu products risk willfully infringing Navico’s patents if they continue to sell Garmin DownVu products, and they could be subject to an infringement suit,” Navico said.

“Therefore, Navico advises against any distributor, dealer or retailer continuing marketing or selling these products and recommends that resellers seek independent legal advice if they have any questions in this matter.”

Garmin said it plans to appeal the ruling.

“Garmin intentionally designed its products to prevent infringement of Navico’s patents. We disagree with the ITC and plan to appeal the determination,” Garmin vice president and general counsel Andrew Etkind said in a statement.

“However, as with the Johnson Outdoors ITC determination we announced in November, we have already taken steps to ensure that we can continue to provide Garmin DownVu scanning sonar products. Garmin has already designed, implemented and manufactured an alternative design that addresses the issue in this ITC ruling. The ruling has no impact on Garmin products already purchased by our customers and dealers.”

Ottosson told Trade Only Today that his company does not plan to pursue legal action against individual retailers during the 60-day period.

“We hope they have codes of conduct and standards that stop them from acting in ways that are not commensurate with U.S. law,” he said.

The ITC ruling reverses an initial determination that an administrative law judge issued in July, previously announced by Garmin Ltd.

This is also the second adverse ruling in two weeks by the ITC that finds that Garmin is violating sonar patents.

Garmin could file an appeal with a U.S. federal court in an attempt to challenge the factual conclusions or show that the ITC incorrectly applied the law; however, in the meantime, the importation and sale of Garmin products featuring DownVu technology are subject to the ITC ruling, effective immediately.

“We are extremely pleased that the ITC has ruled in our favor,” Ottosson said in the Navico statement. “Our innovative DownScan Imaging provides real benefits to fishermen, and we have invested considerable time, effort and resources to develop and bring it to market. Our patents are designed to protect that investment.”

Related

1_AdobeStock_175388620

Clearing the Waterways

In Florida, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, it was estimated that there were 6,000 derelict boats in southwest part of the state. In most cases, boat owners don’t know resources are available to remove them because until recently there weren’t many.

1_AdobeStock_40421038

A Window on the World

Inflation, supply-chain kinks and the continuing war in Ukraine continue to be serious concerns, but numerous companies with a global presence for exports are reporting optimism at the start of 2023.

1_BRP

BRP Announces Mexico Production Facility

The $165 million plant will open in early 2025 in Chihuahua and create up to 1,300 jobs while bolstering production capabilities.

1_COAST. GUARD.FOUNDATION

C.G. Foundation Announces Scholarships

The program each year awards more than $500,000 to qualifying children of active duty, active duty reserve and retired Coast Guard members.

PROPSPEED-HIRES

Propspeed Expands U.S. Sales Team

Josh McGuire and Cole Barone were named regional sales managers for the Northeast and West Coast.

NEWPORT-IMPACT

Newport Boat Show Had $26.1M Impact

The September show drew more than 40,000 attendees last year, with boat sales estimated at $35 million to $40 million.

AdobeStock_182031788

Consumers Feel a Bit Better

A key measure of U.S. consumer confidence rose in December as the economy added 223,000 jobs, the smallest gain in two years. The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 108.3 from 101.4 in November.

1_AdobeStock_272924647

How the ABYC Creates Standards

Standards are a full-time mission for the ABYC that goes beyond simply putting out a new supplement every July. As an organization built on a tradition of common-sense and real-world experiences, the ABYC works on standards development year-round with its Project Technical Committees.

1_5d02b934eb29f602144abe88

Year Three of Five

Fear of an impending exodus, especially with concerns about a looming economic recession, has leaders at the MRAA, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation urging the industry to start focusing immediately on improving customer service as the primary way to retain these boaters.