Marine electronics specialist Navico issued a statement yesterday to say that a Texas federal jury has ruled in favour of the company over its long-standing patent dispute with Garmin. The jury found that Garmin willfully infringed two of Navico’s DownScan Imaging sonar patents and awarded Navico $38,755,000 in damages.

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

“Earlier this year, the ALJ recommended a fine of US$37m against Garmin for violating cease-and-desist orders issued by the ITC to stop Garmin’s infringement of two more Navico patents,” says 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 US District Court has confirmed that Garmin is infringing two other Navico patents – with all eight jurors voting unanimously that Garmin’s infringement was willful.”

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, which lacks a true downscan element. Although the US District Court judge opted not to submit this issue to the jury, during the trial Garmin’s sonar design engineer confirmed that ClearVü can miss objects directly beneath a user’s boat.

A decision to reverse a June 2017 ruling by the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in favour of Garmin is currently under review.