Patent lawsuits filed by Garmin for Marine GPS Routing Tech

Garmin International Inc. filed a patent infringement complaint against a New Hampshire company for use of a marine navigation system similar to Garmin’s proprietary software.

Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP attorneys who are Kansas City-based filed the lawsuit Monday against FLIR Maritime U.S. Inc. (known as Raymarine) in federal district court in Kansas.

According to the complaint, Raymarine infringed on two Garmin patents related to its auto-guidance technology, which helps boaters navigate hazards such as shallow water or low bridges based on vessel-specific information. The complaint is one of two Garmin recently filed related to its auto-guidance patents.

“Customer demand for Auto Guidance was one of the biggest drivers of Garmin’s success in the recreational marine navigation market,” the complaint stated. “And, until recently, Garmin has been able to grow market share in coastal marine markets because it was the only company offering Auto Guidance in the United States.”

Garmin’s marine products combine these route-finding features with electronically displayed navigational charts for a “chartplotter” navigation system. According to the complaint, FLIR violated two patents related to the technology when it released a free software upgrade that added auto-routing capabilities to some of its chartplotters in 2014.

Garmin filed a similar lawsuit against Navico, a Norwegian marine electronics developer, on Oct. 17, 2016. Both companies offer products nationwide at Bas Pro Shops.

Garmin seeks permanent injunctions restraining the companies from sales of the related products, damages and compensation in both cases. Garmin declined to comment.