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ITC Suggests $37 Million Fine Against Garmin

The Administrative Law Judge of the International Trade Commission hearing the patent infringement case between Navico and Garmin issued an Early Initial Determination ruling including a recommended $37 million dollar fine against Garmin for failing to obey cease and desist orders and continuing to import and sell products with their DownVü technologies that Navico and the ITC have said infringe on Navico’s Down Scan technologies.

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

In its latest attempt to curb impacted sales of infringing DownVü products, Garmin introduced a new range of products featuring its ClearVü™ sonar technology, which are sold in the U.S. without a down-facing transducer element. The resulting solution compiles data from the side-scanning elements in the transducer to mimic a scanning image beneath the boat.

“For the third time, we have prevailed in our patent disputes with Garmin,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO, Navico. “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.” 

Lowrance recently released a side by side comparison video of the Garmin’s ClearVü technology next to Lowrance’s Down Scan technology. You can watch it here

Public details of the EID are expected to be released in June.