By Eric Schweibenz
On June 9, 2014, Navico, Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Navico Holding AS of Norway (collectively, “Navico”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Garmin International, Inc., Garmin North America, Inc., and Garmin USA, Inc.—all of Olathe, Kansas—and Garmin (Asia) Corp. of Taiwan (collectively, “Garmin) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain marine sonar imaging devices, including downscan and sidescan devices, products containing the same, and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,305,840 (the ‘840 patent), 8,300,499 (the ‘499 patent), and 8,605,550 (the ‘550 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to marine sonar imaging technology.  In particular, the ‘840 patent relates to a sonar imaging device with a linear transducer to generate high quality images of the seafloor and other objects beneath a watercraft.  The ‘499 patent relates to a sonar imaging device with both a linear transducer and a conical transducer, which provides images based upon data from both transducers.  Lastly, the ‘550 patent relates to a sonar imaging device using a linear downscan transducer and a pair of linear sidescan transducers, which provides images based upon data from each transducer.

In the complaint, Navico states that Garmin imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to various Garmin devices that include “DownVu” and/or “SideVu” features—as well as the DownVu and SideVu transducers themselves— as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Navico states that it sells several models of marine sonar devices in the U.S. that practice the asserted patents under its Lowrance and Simrad brands.  Navico further states that it has spent millions of dollars in the U.S. to create, test, and support these devices for use by U.S. consumers.  Navico states that it employs approximately 190 individuals in the U.S., many of whom work on research and development at Navico’s Tulsa, Oklahoma facility.

As to related litigation, Navico states that it previously asserted the ‘840 and ‘499 patents against Raymarine, Inc. (“Raymarine”) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.  According to the complaint, the case against Raymarine was dismissed with prejudice based on a stipulation between the parties.  Navico also states that Raymarine filed three petitions for inter partes review (IPR) directed to claims of the ‘840 patent.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office instituted IPR proceedings based on Raymarine’s petitions, but those proceedings were terminated on March 25, 2014 in response to joint motions by the parties.  In addition, Navico refers to a previous ITC investigation (Inv. No. 337-TA-898) where it alleged that Raymarine and others infringed the ‘840 and ‘499 patents.  See our November 7, 2013 post for more details on the 898 investigation.  The ITC terminated the 898 investigation based on a settlement agreement.  See our March 26, 2014 post for more details.

With respect to potential remedy, Navico requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders directed at Garmin and related entities.