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Navico and Garmin settle patent dispute

A patent dispute between Garmin and Navico regarding Navico’s DownScan technology patents has finally been resolved. Shown here is Lowrance’s HOOK² 7, which features the technology.

A patent dispute between Garmin and Navico regarding Navico’s DownScan technology patents has finally been resolved. Shown here is Lowrance’s HOOK² 7, which features the technology.

Garmin and Navico have settled a dispute regarding DownScan sonar and auto guidance patents that has been playing out in the courts and federal agencies for three years.

The agreement includes a “broad cross licensing of patents and other intellectual property.”

"No additional terms or details will be released beyond the press release," said Garmin spokesperson Carly Hysell. "The specifics of that licensing won’t be released, however."

“Research and development of game-changing technologies like our DownScan Imaging is the lifeblood of our business and the marine electronics industry,” said Navico CEO Leif Ottosson in a joint statement issued with Garmin. “We are very pleased with this resolution, which includes guidelines for the future cross licensing of technologies for the benefit of both of our customers.”

Hysell told Trade Only Today that the ruling would allow the company to focus all its energy on bringing new innovation to customers.

The back-and-forth battle that began in 2015 forced Garmin to stop importing its sonar products to the United States.

At that time, the ITC ruled that Garmin’s products featuring tilted DownVü scanning sonar technology infringed on patents of Navico, parent company to Lowrance, Simrad and B&G. It also ruled that Garmin violated cease-and-desist orders issued in 2015 and recommended a $37 million fine.

That ruling was subsequently backed up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

However, last June, a federal appeals court overturned those rulings on grounds that Navico’s patents were invalid in the first place. That decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit allowed Garmin to start importing its sonar products to the United States, which the company said it stopped doing in 2015.

Then in September, a Texas federal-court jury found that Garmin “willfully infringed” on two of Navico’s DownScan Imaging sonar patents and awarded Navico nearly $38.8 million in damages — a decision Garmin said it would appeal.

“This is an exciting time as new technology is bringing positive change to the marine market,” said Garmin president and CEO Cliff Pemble in the joint statement. “This resolution allows us to focus all of our energy to bring even more innovation to our marine customers.”

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