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Federal jury rules in Navico/Garmin case, awards $38 million in damages

By Boating Industry

Navico announced that a Texas federal jury has found that Garmin Ltd. willfully infringed two of Navico’s DownScan Imaging sonar patents and awarded Navico $38,755,000 in damages. The district court judge has discretion to increase the damages to account for the jury’s finding that Garmin’s infringement was willful.

The infringement finding concerned two of Navico’s patents relating to marine sonar technology – U.S. Patent Nos. 9,223,022 and 9,244,168 – and the finding is consistent with separate rulings by an International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge and by U.S. Customs and Border Protection concerning Garmin’s infringement of additional Navico patents.

“Earlier this year, the ALJ recommended a fine of $37 million against Garmin for violating cease-and-desist orders issued by the ITC to stop Garmin’s infringement of two more Navico patents,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO, Navico. “In a separate decision, the CBP likewise found infringement by Garmin, and stated that Garmin would be barred from importing all infringing sonar products. 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.”

The willfulness finding means the jury found that Garmin knew about Navico’s patents and engaged in conduct that “was egregious, reckless, wanton, malicious, done in bad faith, deliberately or consciously wrongful, or flagrant.”

“We disagree with the verdict on the patents and will appeal,” said Andrew Etkind, Garmin’s vice president and general counsel. “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 today’s jury verdict will be heard by this same appeals court.

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

As part of the civil lawsuit, Navico also accused Garmin of false advertising relating to false and misleading assertions regarding its transition from the infringing DownVü sonar scanning to the replacement design called ClearVü.

At present time, a decision to reverse a June 2017 ruling by the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Garmin is under review.

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