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Author Topic:   HUMMINBIRD v. LOWRANCE Patent Dispute Settled
jimh posted 01-12-2012 08:19 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The following press release announces a settlement in the patent dispute between HUMMINBIRD and LOWRANCE regarding their side scan SONAR devices:

RACINE, WISCONSIN, January 10, 2012

Johnson Outdoors Inc, (JOUT:NASDAQ) and Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc., and Navico, Inc. are pleased to announce they have resolved their dispute relating to Johnson Outdoors’ patented Humminbird® Side Imaging® sonar technology and Navico’s StructureScan™ accessory to its displays. As result of the settlement, the case has been dismissed. The companies have mutually agreed that the terms of the out‐of‐court settlement will remain confidential

jimh posted 01-12-2012 08:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Not long ago the rhetoric was more aggressive:

RACINE, Wisconsin, January 27, 2010

Johnson Outdoors Inc. (JOUT: Nasdaq) today announced it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Navico, Inc. for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,652,952 by Navico’s sale of the Lowrance LSS-1 StructureScan Imaging System. Johnson Outdoors’ patent protects the Humminbird® Side Imaging® sonar technology. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Alabama, the home of Humminbird® products for over 50 years.

Johnson Outdoors’ Side Imaging® sonar produces detailed and recognizable images of underwater objects and waterbeds enabling anglers to pinpoint habitat, structure and drop-offs which are prime holding areas for fish. The patent application process began in 2004 prior to the Company’s introduction of Side Imaging® sonar in Humminbird® 900 series fishfinder models the following year.

Consumer demand prompted Johnson Outdoors to expand utilization of Side Imaging® sonar technology across a broad range of its Humminbird® portfolio and was a key driver behind the brand’s growth over the past four years. Following a comprehensive and methodical review process, on January 26, 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the Company’s patent for “Side Imaging® sonar.”

“Our intellectual property policy is very simple: we will respect the property of others and fiercely protect that of our own. We were diligent throughout the Side Imaging® sonar technology patent application process to ensure we achieved both because real innovation brings real value which our customers and consumers expect and demand. By taking steps to protect our ideas and inventions, we help ensure our ability to continue to bring forward meaningful advances and innovative products that excite consumers and build our customers’ business,” said Kelly Grindle, Group Vice President Marine Electronics & Watercraft.

The Company’s complaint says Navico, Inc. expended substantial resources to inform the trade and relevant purchasers of fish finding products, that it too would use side scan technology to compete directly with Humminbird® Side Imaging® sonar products with knowledge that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office had approved the Company’s patent. The complaint further says Navico actively induced infringement of the patent by resellers. .

The Company is asking the Court to enjoin Navico from further infringement of the patented Side Imaging® sonar technology.”

jimh posted 01-12-2012 08:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is the patent which is believed to form the basis for the dispute and subsequent settlement.
Peter posted 01-13-2012 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Settlement probably involves a running royalty bearing license.
jimh posted 03-15-2012 07:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Lowrance seems poised to announce a new model of side scan Sonar, possibly the LSS-2, as a replacement to the Lowrance LSS-1 model, which apparently was the subject of the patent dispute mentioned above. It is believed that some aspects of the LSS-1 may have been encumbered by a patented invention of Humminbird. It is further speculated that Lowrance may be able to avoid infringing on Humminbird's invention by modifications as simple as changing the physical size of the SONAR transducer or by using a GPS receiver that is external to the SONAR device.

Today's date has been hinted as being the day of an annoucement, so we will keep our eyes on Lowrance's website for any news.

jimh posted 03-15-2012 08:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
ASIDE: If you are having problems viewing TIFF images at the USPTO website, use the Firefox browser and install the plug-in Aspator.
jimh posted 03-15-2012 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is the announcement of a new Lowrance product, Structure Scan HD:

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