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TomTom fails to put the brakes on Garmin

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Car navigation equipment maker TomTom has lost its "me too" design infringment case against Garmin.

In a normal summary proceeding TomTom asked a judge to prevent the sale of Garmin's StreetPilot c300 and c500 series in Europe, alleging that Garmin copied aspects of the TomTom GO design in its product line.

Both companies make similar-looking portable navigation devices that are shaped like miniature desktop computer monitors.

Today the Dutch judge ruled that at first glance there are clear differences between Garmin's StreetPilot c300 and c500 and TomTom's Go models. For instance, Garmin's c300 and c500 have an angular form, while TomTom's Go has a round shape. The judge included drawings to underpin his views.

TomTom said it won't appeal, but is counting on a procedure on the merits it has filed earlier on Garmin's car navigation design. There are also several patent infringement cases between the two rivals.

Earlier this year, Garmin called for unspecified financial damages in its claim that TomTom is unlawfully using five US-patented Garmin technologies designed to "calculate which streets are important enough to a drivers' route to be displayed".

Garmin today reported that its third-quarter profits rose about 20 per cent on stronger automotive sales. Sales for vehicle-based devices increased 147 per cent during Q3 to $238m. ®

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