Johnson Outdoors files suit against Navico

RACINE, Wisc. – Johnson Outdoors Inc. (Nasdaq: JOUT) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Navico, Inc. for allegedly infringing upon its U.S. Patent No. 7,652,952 by Navico’s sale of the Lowrance LSS-1 StructureScan Imaging System.

Johnson Outdoors’ patent, granted on Jan. 26, 2010, protects the Humminbird Side Imaging sonar technology, the company reported in a statement. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Alabama.

“Our intellectual property policy is very simple: we will respect the property of others and fiercely protect that of our own,” said Kelly Grindle, vice president of Johnson Outdoor’s Marine Electronics & Watercraft Group. “We were diligent throughout the Side Imaging sonar technology patent application process to ensure we achieved both because real innovation brings real value which our customers and consumers expect and demand. By taking steps to protect our ideas and inventions, we help ensure our ability to continue to bring forward meaningful advances and innovative products that excite consumers and build our customers’ business.”

The company said it is asking the court to enjoin Navico from further infringement of the patented Side Imaging sonar technology.

In response, Lowrance re-affirmed that its LSS-1 StructureScan sonar imaging module option – compatible with HDS fishfinder/chartplotter multifunction displays – will continue to be sold, distributed and fully supported worldwide.

The company said the LSS-1 StructureScan sonar imaging is based on Navico’s “known and reliable sonar technology, yet it also features additional new technology not available from others, in a unique add-on module configuration.”

“We are confident,” said Louis Chemi, COO for Navico Americas, “in the uniqueness and value of Lowrance LSS-1 StructureScan sonar imaging. We also wish to assure our customers that the worldwide sale and distribution of StructureScan sonar imaging will absolutely continue as planned with full Lowrance support for years to come. Navico will vigorously defend the recent legal proceedings initiated by Johnson Outdoors.”

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