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TomTom seeks ban for Garmin's car products

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Car navigation equipment maker TomTom has asked a Dutch judge to prevent the sale of Garmin's StreetPilot c300 and c500 series in Europe.

TomTom alleged that Garmin copied many aspects of the TomTom GO design in its product line. TomTom demanded "immediate action" to stop Garmin from "further profiting from its 'me too products', in particular during the coming holiday season".

TomTom claims that Garmin started to develop the StreetPilot c300 series in May 2004, just a month after it launched its GO device at CeBIT in Hannover. The Garmin designer claims he never saw TomTom's product, at least not during the early stages of development.

"That's hard to believe," TomTom's lawyers told the judge yesterday, who was surrounded with samples and sheets of TomTom and Garmin products. "We know Garmin's people came to watch the TomTom products at CeBIT."

Garmin allowed the lawyers of TomTom to look at early concept designs of the C300, although under a non disclosure agreement. "The documents clearly indicated that the product would help Garmin to fill the void in their product line. In contrast to what Garmin claims, the C300 was evidently not an evolutionary product," the lawyers argued.

However, TomTom had difficulty pointing out the similarities between the competing products. Nor was it able to prove it suffered financial loss as a result of these products.

Garmin's lawyer told the judge: "The reason why we are here is that TomTom wants revenge for the fact Garmin sued them for patent infringement."

A ruling is expected within two weeks. ®

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