ITC judge issues determination in Garmin/Navico case, Garmin to appeal

An Enforcement Initial Determination filed by an Administrative Law Judge at the International Trade Commission made an initial determination in the enforcement proceeding brought by Navico, Inc. against Garmin. The ALJ’s initial determination concluded that Garmin’s sale of certain DownVü sonar products violated the ITC’s December 2015 orders arising from a previous Navico-Garmin ITC investigation. The ALJ recommends a fine in the amount of $37 million. Additional details of the EID are expected to be made public in June.

“For the third time, we have prevailed in our patent disputes with Garmin,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO of Navico, in a statement. “This time, an Administrative Law Judge determined not only that Garmin has infringed Navico’s patents but also that there was evidence of bad faith. As far as we know, the recommended fine is the largest ever, so it is clear that the Administrative Law Judge found Garmin’s disregard for the cease-and-desist orders particularly troublesome. As we have stated throughout this process, the ruling confirms that Garmin must cease all importations and sales of the offending products in the distribution channels, and failure to do so means that the company continues to violate the ITC orders. Garmin says that they will appeal the ruling, but as with previous appeals we feel confident that we once again will prevail. In any event, Garmin must immediately conform to the ITC’s orders, and another appeal doesn’t change this fact.”

In the newly issued EID, the Administrative Law Judge also determined that Garmin’s “design-around” DownVü solution with a tilted transducer element also infringes upon Navico’s sonar technology patents.

Garmin disagrees with the initial determination and will seek review by the ITC, which is expected to issue a final determination in August 2017.

“Even if affirmed by the ITC, the ruling has no impact on Garmin’s customers or dealers,” said Andrew Etkind, Garmin’s vice president and general counsel. “Additionally, the ruling does not impact in any way Garmin products with ClearVü sonar functionality, which have been on the market since 2016.”

The ITC is an independent governmental agency in Washington, D.C., responsible for addressing patent infringement disputes relating to goods that are manufactured abroad and imported into the United States.

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