Texas jury: Garmin infringes two Navico
sonar patents, awards nearly $39 million
For anyone who thought the patent infringement war between Navico and Garmin was in the rear-view mirror, another skirmish is kicking up dust. In September, a Texas federal jury found that Garmin willfully infringed two of Navico’s DownScan Imaging sonar patents and
awarded the company $38,755,000 in damages.
This follows a ruling several months ago by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on
two other Navico patents that reversed a December 2015 finding by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that Garmin had infringed Navico patents related to downscan sonar. Specifically,
that court ruled that two of Navico’s patents were invalid and that Garmin’s DownVü sonar does
not infringe a third Navico patent.
In the current action, Navico reported that, “The unanimous jury verdict validates Navico’s
long-standing claims against Garmin. 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 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 $37 million against Garmin for violating
cease-and-desist orders issued by the ITC to stop Garmin’s infringement of two more Navico
patents,” said Navico CEO Leif Ottosson. “In a separate decision, the CBP likewise found infringe-
ment 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
“The willfulness finding means the jury found that Garmin knew about Navico’s patents and
engaged in conduct that “was egregious, reckless, wanton, malicious, done in bad faith, deliber-
ately or consciously wrongful, or flagrant,” Navico reported in a press release.
The company went on to say that, “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.
“Garmin sells ClearVü sonar technology in the US without a down-facing transducer element,
relying on data from side-scanning elements to compile and synthesize a scanning image beneath
the boat. A down-facing transducer element is included in all ClearVü products outside of the
United States, beyond the scope of Navico’s US patents. Navico continues to believe that Garmin’s
abrupt transition from DownVü to ClearVü in late 2016 included false and misleading statements
about the features and capabilities of ClearVü. Garmin’s actions confused the marine electronics
market until Garmin finally acknowledged the limitations of ClearVü in March 2017, six months
after the technology was announced.”
Garmin CEO Cliff Pemble said, “Although we are disappointed in the outcome, we continue
to stand behind our products. Today’s jury verdict has no impact on Garmin’s dealers and cus-
tomers as our products will continue to be available to the public.”
“We disagree with the verdict on the patents and will appeal,” said Garmin Vice President and
General Counsel Andrew Etkind. “We expect to succeed in our appeal, as the federal patent
appeals court has already concluded that Navico’s other downscan patents are not valid in view
of Humminbird’s earlier work.” Garmin’s appeal of today’s jury verdict will be heard by this same
Scott Nagel is Navico’s new territory Sales Man- ager for the southwest US. Based in Mission Viejo, CA, he will cover California, Arizona,
Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Hawaii.
“We are very excited to bring in an experienced
professional to fill this important position,” said Leif
Ottosson, Navico CEO. “We believe we have found
a great fit with Scott and are looking forward to
applying his expertise and focus to manage our
interests in this vital region.”
Nagel has worked for many years as an inde-
pendent sales representative for brands like Daiwa,
Rapala, Flambeau, Penn, Beretta and Sig Sauer.
Nagel got his start in the industry while attending
San Diego State University and working as a deck
hand on the San Diego sportfishing fleet to help pay
for his education.
Navico hires Scott
Nagel as Southwest
Airmar and Simrad recently took home awards honoring new products. Airmar’s win was an IBEX Innovation Award for its TDT1000
Transducer Diagnostics Tester. West Marine named
Simrad’s GO9 chartplotter as Best New Product of
Airmar’s TDT1000 Transducer Diagnostics Tester
won in the Boatyard and Dealer Hardware and Software category. Coupled with the Airmar SensorCheck app for iOS or Android, the handheld
TDT1000 accurately tests both conventional and
CHIRP-ready transducers to ensure the transducer is
performing to approved factory specifications.
Peter Braffitt, General Manager of Gemeco
Marine Accessories, accepted the award on behalf of
Airmar. “It is an honor to receive industry recogni-
tion for the TD T1000, a product that will revolution-
ize transducer and system diagnostics for OEMs and
installers,” he said. “Many dealers are using the
TDT1000 to enhance their annual maintenance
schedule, generating additional value and peace-of-
mind for their customers, and increased revenue for
West Marine’s selection of the GO9 as the Best
New Product of the Year came at its annual Very
Important Vendor Awards event, where parent com-
pany Navico was also honored for driving Best Store
The GO9 XSE chartplotter is the latest addition
to Simrad’s GO Series of multi-touch displays.
Matched with a TotalScan transducer, it delivers a
complete underwater view for anglers, including
fish-finding CHIRP sonar, StructureScan HD and
DownScan Imaging on a 9 inch display.
Airmar and Simrad
win product awards