Garmin facing $37m fine; plans ITC appeal

Marine electronics company Navico said an Enforcement Initial Determination (EID) filed by an International Trade Commission (ITC) administrative law judge (ALJ) found that Garmin violated a cease-and-desist orders issued in 2015 regarding the importation and sale of products featuring DownVü scanning sonar technology.

Navico — parent company of the Lowrance, Simrad and B&G brands — said the judge has recommended a $37 million fine for Garmin’s violation of the ITC orders.

Additional details of the EID are expected to be made public in June.

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

“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.”

Navico said that 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.

Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd, said: “The ALJ’s initial determination concluded that Garmin’s sale of certain DownVü sonar products violated the ITC’s December 2015 orders arising from a previous Navico-Garmin ITC investigation.

“The ALJ recommends a fine in the amount of $37 million.

“Garmin disagrees with the initial determination and will seek review by the ITC, which is expected to issue a final determination in August 2017.”