Judge rules against Garmin in patent case involving fishing device

An administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission has ruled against Olathe-based Garmin International Inc. in a patent case involving a fish-finding sonar device.

The judge concluded that Garmin’s SideVu sonar product infringed on one of three patents for a Humminbird fishing device developed by Johnson Outdoors of Racine, Wis. The judge’s ruling found no violation on the two other patents, Garmin said in a statement Wednesday.

Though Garmin plans to appeal the initial ruling to the trade commission, it said it already is “developing improvements” to its current SideVu sonar products.

“These improvements include changes that eliminate the configuration at issue in the ITC investigation,” Garmin said. “Garmin expects these products to be in the marketplace before any ITC final determination becomes effective.”

Even if the administrative ruling is upheld by the ITC, Garmin said it doesn’t expect the outcome to have any effect on its customers or products.

Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and chief executive of Johnson Outdoors, said in a statement that she was pleased with the initial ruling.

“Humminbird’s pioneering, patented side scan sonar technology … is the gold standard in fishfinders,” she said.