Garmin, an American firm that sells automobile and aviation GPS products has filed a lawsuit against Dutch GPS company TomTom. The lawsuit, filed in a Wisconsin Federal Court, alleges that TomTom’s automobile GPS units are infringing on five GPS related patents held by Garmin. TomTom is one of the leading GPS firms in Europe and recently has upped its efforts to push into the America market, while Garmin is doing the opposite by trying to enter the European market.
The disputed patents cover how routes are calculated and displayed on a LCD screen. While the specific patent numbers have not been published, a quick search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website shows several Garmin patents that cover general GPS technology and route calculation. One such patent is filing 6,871,144, which covers a combined radio and GPS unit with “enhanced features”.
Both companies make standalone GPS units that can be mounted on the dashboard of a car. These units are typically priced from several hundred dollars to more than $1000. In addition, the companies sell route following software for PDAs.