Global Locate vs. SiRF – GPS Chipset Patent Dispute
I thought I would post a summary of the patent dispute between the two GPS chipset giants. I don’t pretend to be a patent lawyer specializing in GPS electronics technology, so forgive me, but a lot of folks are interested in what’s going on here and what the latest news is. It's well known that SiRF created a breakthrough change in the GPS chipset market with their SiRF star III chipset
. Global Locate has developed their own chipset that is a high sensitivity receiver and then the patent battles began. A big change in the tide occurred in January 2007 when TomTom confirmed that they are moving to Global Locate chipsets for their TomTom ONE unit, kicking off a tit-for-tat dispute that has lawyers spending late nights trying to one up the other guys.
Here's some info for you:
Motorola Invests in Global Locate
TomTom Rumors that they are moving to Global Locate Chips - after which the SiRF stock dropped precipitously as a result of the rumor.
SiRF then Sues Global Locate for Patent Infringement - SiRF's complaint alleges infringement by Global Locate and its distributor of four of SiRF's GPS technology patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 7,091,904; 7,043,363; 6,850,557; and 6,636,178.
Global Locate then counter sues SiRF
TomTom confirms that it is Going with Global Locate Chips and not SiRF on the TTOne model.
SiRF seeks to halt GPS Imports that include Global Locate Chips; could this mean the TomTom ONE?
Similarly Global Locate wants to stop GPS imports that have the offending or disputed rather GPS chipsets in them, namely models from ETen, Mitac, Mio, and Pharos. I wonder why they didn't pick Garmin or TomTom? Their SiRF Star III equipped models may not infringe or it may just be a prudent business decision not to piss off the two global leaders and potential HUGE clients.
An Investigation was officially opened on the above complaint by Global Locate.
Stay tuned, more to come, I am sure!
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Posted by Scott Martin at April 12, 2007 8:01 AM
Nice overview. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date. This is an interesting battle, but I wish these guys were focusing on making better chips :)
Do you have a sense of the comparative performances of these company's chips? I am a big fan of SiRF Star III but I have never tested a device with Global Locate.