Author Topic: Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance  (Read 7207 times)

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Offline RGecy

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Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
January 27, 2010 9:00 AM ET

RACINE, Wisc., Jan. 27, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Johnson Outdoors Inc. (Nasdaq:JOUT) today announced it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Navico, Inc. for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,652,952 by Navico's sale of the Lowrance LSS-1 StructureScan Imaging System. Johnson Outdoors' patent protects the Humminbird(R) Side Imaging(R) sonar technology. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Alabama, the home of Humminbird(R) products for over 50 years.

Johnson Outdoors' Side Imaging(R) sonar produces detailed and recognizable images of underwater objects and waterbeds enabling anglers to pinpoint habitat, structure and drop-offs which are prime holding areas for fish. The patent application process began in 2004 prior to the Company's introduction of Side Imaging(R) sonar in Humminbird(R) 900 series fishfinder models the following year.

Consumer demand prompted Johnson Outdoors to expand utilization of Side Imaging(R) sonar technology across a broad range of its Humminbird(R) portfolio and was a key driver behind the brand's growth over the past four years. Following a comprehensive and methodical review process, on January 26, 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the Company's patent for "Side Imaging(R) sonar."

"Our intellectual property policy is very simple: we will respect the property of others and fiercely protect that of our own. We were diligent throughout the Side Imaging(R) sonar technology patent application process to ensure we achieved both because real innovation brings real value which our customers and consumers expect and demand. By taking steps to protect our ideas and inventions, we help ensure our ability to continue to bring forward meaningful advances and innovative products that excite consumers and build our customers' business," said Kelly Grindle, Group Vice President Marine Electronics & Watercraft.

The Company's complaint says Navico, Inc. expended substantial resources to inform the trade and relevant purchasers of fish finding products, that it too would use side scan technology to compete directly with Humminbird(R) Side Imaging(R) sonar products with knowledge that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office had approved the Company's patent. The complaint further says Navico actively induced infringement of the patent by resellers.

The Company is asking the Court to enjoin Navico from further infringement of the patented Side Imaging(R) sonar technology.


Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc. consists of the Humminbird(R), GEONAV(R), Minn Kota(R) and Cannon(R) brands. Humminbird is a leading innovator and manufacturer of fishfinders, fishfinder/GPS combo units, chartplotters, marine radios and digital depth gauges. Geonav is a manufacturer of high-quality, easy-to-use marine electronics products. Minn Kota is the world's leading manufacturer of electric trolling motors, as well as offering a complete line of battery chargers, Trim Tabs and marine accessories. Cannon is the leader in controlled-depth fishing and includes a full line of downrigger products and accessories.


JOHNSON OUTDOORS is a leading global outdoor recreation company that turns ideas into adventure with innovative, top-quality products. The company designs, manufactures and markets a portfolio of winning, consumer-preferred brands across four categories: Watercraft, Marine Electronics, Diving and Outdoor Equipment. Johnson Outdoors' familiar brands include, among others: Old Town(R) canoes and kayaks; Ocean Kayak(TM) and Necky(R) kayaks; Lendal(R) paddles; Carlisle(R) and Extrasport(R) paddling accessories; Minn Kota(R) motors; Cannon(R) downriggers; Humminbird(R) fishfinders; GEONAV(R) marine electronics; SCUBAPRO(R) UWATEC(R) and Seemann(R) dive equipment; Silva(R) compasses; Tech4O(R) digital instruments; and Eureka!(R) tents.

Visit Johnson Outdoors at

CONTACT: Johnson Outdoors Inc.
Cynthia Georgeson

GlobeNewswire, Inc.2010
Humminbird Guru and Forum Administrator

Offline sonar2000

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Re: Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2010, 06:15:29 PM »
This should get interesting.  As a prior Lowrance user I knew of humminbird sideimaging long before Lowrance started making any motions about a competive market product. While competition is (good) HB has the market on side imaging and no infringement should happen.  Has Navico taken leave of their senses.  Keep up the good work Humminbird. 

Offline George

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Re: Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010, 08:58:35 PM »
I have been through a patent infringement with a large company.  We clearly developed the unique equipment and they hired principal people away from our company, to steal our technology.  Everything was proven in court, they got off with a fine of several million dollars, but were allowed to keep the technology.  This was a two year trial, it took us 5 years to develop the new technology at a at of a cost of around 50 million dollars.  Their fine was substantially lower then our development costs.

What I am saying depending on the market value most likely Lowrance will get slapped on the wrist and have to pay a few dollars but will probably get to keep the technology.  The bottom line is: they probably expected this and put it down as an expense and is willing to pay to stay competitive.

And in the end we are all better off for it, without Lowrance moving ahead we probably would not have have DownImaging today. 

Do not get me wrong, Humminbird is a great company and because of them we have SideImaging along with some of the greatest customer service.


Offline sfw1960

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Re: Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 01:12:38 AM »
Any new developments???


Offline Moose1am

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Re: Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 08:32:23 PM »
It's been about two or three years now since Johnson Controls filed this law suit. Any news on what's the state of this law suit?

Any new developments???




Offline LocDown

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Re: Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2013, 12:16:04 AM »
I believed they settled. Their HDS touch units have the StructureScan built-in.

Offline navionic

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Re: Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2013, 02:55:44 PM »
Lowrance must be stopped. Technology copied.

Doc Stressor

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Re: Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2013, 01:26:43 PM »
The dispute was settled in Jan. 2012. Details of the settlement were confidential. That usually means some type of licensing agreement.

Patent law is not designed to give the holder of patent a monopoly on the technology. They are obliged to license the technology to others for a reasonable amount of money. The suites typically start out ugly where one company sues to invalidate the original patent of the other. But there is usually a financial settlement in the end. Many companies like to license their technology to others since the money flows directly to the the bottom line. That also slows down the development of even newer technologies by their competitors.

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