Jury rules for Navico in continuing patent dispute with Garmin

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A Texas federal court jury has found that Garmin “willfully infringed” on two of Navico’s DownScan Imaging sonar patents and awarded Navico nearly $38.8 million in damages, both companies announced.

The district court judge in the case has discretion to increase the damages to account for the jury’s finding that Garmin’s infringement was willful, Navico said.

Garmin said it would appeal the ruling, which was expected because the long-standing patent feud has been playing out in courts since 2015.

“We disagree with the verdict on the patents and will appeal,” said Garmin vice president and general councel Andrew Etkind in a statement. “We expect to succeed in our appeal, as the Federal Patent Appeals Court has already concluded that Navico’s other downscan patents are not valid in view of Humminbird’s earlier work.”

Garmin’s appeal of Friday’s jury verdict will be heard by the same appeals court.

“Although we are disappointed in the outcome, we continue to stand behind our products,” said Garmin CEO Cliff Pemble. “Today’s jury verdict has no impact on Garmin’s dealers and customers, as our products will continue to be available to the public.”

Navico said the verdict “validates Navico’s long-standing claims against Garmin.”

Earlier this year, an administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission recommended a fine of $37 million against Garmin for violating cease-and-desist orders the ITC issued to stop Garmin’s infringement of two more Navico patents.

“In a separate decision, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection likewise found infringement by Garmin, and stated that Garmin would be barred from importing all infringing sonar products,” said Navico CEO Leif Ottosson in a separate statement. “Now, a federal jury in U.S. District Court has confirmed that Garmin is infringing two other Navico patents — with all eight jurors voting unanimously that Garmin’s infringement was willful.”

In June, a federal appeals court overturned years of rulings that had favored electronics manufacturer Navico in its patent disputes with rival Garmin on grounds that Navico’s patents were invalid in the first place.

The June ruling allows Garmin to import any and all of its sonar products to the United States, which the company had stopped doing in December 2015 after a ruling in Navico’s favor.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a December 2015 finding by the ITC 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.