Humminbird files patent infringement on Lowrance over StructureScan LSS-1
It turns out that Lowrance may not have found a work around from the patent issued to Humminbird for their Side Imaging Sonar. Lowrance introduced their version of the technology late last year, and the new features of the StructureScan were well received by the few fishermen that were able to get one already.
Here is the press release from Humminbird regarding the lawsuit:
“Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance
RACINE, Wisconsin, January 27, 2010 – Johnson Outdoors Inc. (JOUT: Nasdaq) 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® Side Imaging® sonar technology. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Alabama, the home of Humminbird® products for over 50 years.
Johnson Outdoors’ Side Imaging® 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® sonar in Humminbird® 900 series fishfinder models the following year.
Consumer demand prompted Johnson Outdoors to expand utilization of Side Imaging® sonar technology across a broad range of its Humminbird® 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® 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® 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® Side Imaging® 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® sonar technology.”
What does this mean for fishermen that are looking to purchase a LSS-1 StructureScan in the near future. While lawsuits can drag out up to a few years, it is a good idea to order the LSS-1 soon. Most retailers are backordered on the item, which is very typical of Lowrance products, particularly new products. The average backorder for a StructureScan has been taking about a month.
If Humminbird (Johnson Outdoors) wins the lawsuit, LSS-1’s will likely be pulled from the shelves until it is redesigned so as not to infringe on existing patents.
You can order (backorder) the LSS-1 StructureScan at eBuyersWorld.com.