February 10, 2006

Garmin Sues TomTom for Patent Infringement


Ouch - in a tough move Garmin is suing TomTom for patent infringement over several patents that make GPS units easier to use. In lawsuits filed in federal court in Wisconsin, Garmin contends that TomTom is infringing on five Garmin U.S. patents that protect technology used in its Global Positioning System devices.

Among those patents is one that protects Garmin technology designed to simplify the maps showing a vehicle’s location. The technology calculates which streets are important enough to a driver’s route to be displayed on the device’s on-screen maps.

TomTom, in a statement Thursday, denied Garmin’s allegations.

“TomTom Inc. rejects Garmin’s claims and will vigorously defend itself,” the company said.

Ted Gartner, a spokesman for Garmin, said the company is a pioneer in GPS technology and has “amassed a significant stable of patents” for technology aimed at the consumer and aviation markets.

“We’ve been at this as long as anybody,” Gartner said. “It’s always been about the technology at Garmin, and we’re very proud of it.”

All of the patents outlined in the lawsuits appear to cover technology to make GPS navigators easier to use.

“We have worked hard to make it easy for the user,” Gartner said. “One of our hallmarks is ease of use.”

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Posted by Scott Martin at February 10, 2006 11:33 AM

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