On July 18, 2014, Johnson Outdoors Inc. of Racine, Wisconsin and Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc. of Eufaula, Alabama (collectively, “Johnson Outdoors”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Garmin International, Inc., Garmin North America, Inc., and Garmin USA, Inc.—all of Olathe, Kansas—and Garmin Corp. of Taiwan (collectively, “Garmin”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain marine sonar imaging systems, products containing the same, and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,652,952 (the ‘952 patent), 7,710,825 (the ‘825 patent), and 7,755,974 (the ‘974 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”).

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to marine sonar imaging technology.  In particular, the ‘952 patent relates to a side scanning sonar imaging system with a boat-mounted transducer assembly and an electronic control head.  The ‘825 patent relates to a side scanning sonar system which displays left and/or right side images; a boat location relative to the image; and a distance to an object from the side of the boat.  Lastly, the ‘974 patent relates to a side scanning sonar imaging system in which an image enhancement algorithm is applied to the side scan image data to provide an enhanced image.

In the complaint, Johnson Outdoors states that Garmin imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to the Garmin SideVu/DownVu sonar imaging transducer, GCV 10 sounder module, and compatible echoMAP and GPSMAP series sonar displays as infringing products.

Regarding domestic industry, Johnson Outdoors states that it has made significant investments in plant and equipment in the U.S. devoted to manufacturing, testing, packing, engineering, marketing, and servicing side scan sonar imaging products that utilize technology covered by the asserted patents.  Johnson Outdoors specifically refers to its facility in Eufaula, Alabama, where it manufactures products protected by the asserted patents and conducts engineering, research and development, repairs, and customer service.  Johnson Outdoors also states that it has engaged in a significant employment of labor and capital in the U.S. to manufacture, test, package, engineer, market, and service products covered by the asserted patents.  Johnson Outdoors further states that it has made substantial investments in exploiting the asserted patents in the U.S. through engineering and research and development.

As to related litigation, Johnson Outdoors states that it previously asserted the ‘952 patent and other patents related to side scan sonar against Navico, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.  According to the complaint, the litigation with Navico ended on January 13, 2012 as a result of a settlement agreement.  Johnson Outdoors also states that the ‘952, ‘825, and ‘974 patents were each subject to reexamination before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and that reexamination certificates issued for these patents on June 30, May 8, and May 13, 2013, respectively.  Finally, Johnson Outdoors states that on July 17, 2014, it filed suit against the domestic Garmin respondents in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, alleging infringement of the asserted patents.

With respect to potential remedy, Johnson Outdoors requests that the Commission issue a permanent limited exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders directed at Garmin and related entities.