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TomTom wins (or loses) Garmin US lawsuit

Battle of the press releases

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TomTom, the Dutch maker of GPS navigation devices, says it has emerged victorious in the latest round of the acrimonious patent dispute with Garmin, its American rival. Or did it? Garmin says it is the winner.

From where we are sitting, it looks like TomTom has the better claim to victory: US District Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin has granted a summary judgment ending the year-long legal battle between TomTom and its US rival Garmin.

Garmin brought the litigation against TomTom, asserting five core patents. The decision finds that all five Garmin patents asserted against TomTom in the lawsuit are either invalid or not infringed by TomTom's popular line of navigation products.

Garmin says it really won because "the Court’s ruling gave Garmin a complete victory in its defense of TomTom’s claims of infringement of three patents and left unadjudicated many of the claims filed by Garmin against TomTom".

Hmm. So in other words, the doors are not closed on legal action elsewhere. The next venue is Texas, where Garmin recently filed yet another patent infringement case.

"We did not start this fight and tried to convince Garmin that the case did not have merit," Harold Goddijn, CEO of TomTom said in a statement. "Garmin has spent considerable amounts of money and manpower to try and stop TomTom making inroads into the US market. The net result is that many of their claims were invalidated."

TomTom believes that the Texas case is also without merit and urges Garmin to focus on developing the market.

A couple of months ago TomTom lost its "me too" design infringment case in the Netherlands against Garmin. TomTom sought 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. The Dutch company is still counting on a procedure on the merits it has filed earlier on Garmin's car navigation design. ®

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