Phone Manufacturers Sued over GPS Patents

NavBlazer has filed a complaint against LG Electronics for patent infringement. NavBlazer also filed similar complaints against Apple, Samsung, and Motorola. The complaints appear to be essentially duplicative of each other; arguments are very similar and some of the cases mention Apple’s alleged infringement despite Apple not being named in that specific case. In all of the cases, Garteiser Honea represents NavBlazer. The cases were filed in the Texas Western District Court.

The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 9,075,136 and 9,885,782, both are entitled “Vehicle Operator and/or Occupant Information Apparatus and Method.” The patents “relate generally to an apparatus and method for providing a user with one or more possible travel routes to a destination, as well as additional information regarding the one or more possible travel routes, such as traffic conditions, road conditions, traffic flow, weather information and/or other useful information.”

The complaint lists a variety of infringing products for each company, for example for LG the “LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen,” “LG G8X ThinQ,” “LG V50 ThinQ 5G,” “LG V40 ThinQ,” “LG V35 ThinQ,” and for Apple the “iPhone 5C” all the way to “iPhone 8” and “iPhone 8 Plus.” It also includes the “iPhone X,” “iPhone XS,” “iPad Air,” “iPad 2,” among others. For Samsung, it includes, for example, the “Galaxy Fold,” “Galaxy S,” “Galaxy Note,” “Galaxy C” and “Galaxy J.” Motorola infringed with, for example, “Motorola Razr,” “Moto Z3,” “Moto E5 Play,” “Motorola One,” and “Motorola One Zoom.”

The complaints argued that each defendant directly infringed and induced others to infringe on multiple claims of the patents. For example, all companies allegedly infringed on at least claims 1, 2 and 7 of the ’782 Patent. These devices did so on Claim 1 of the ’782 Patent “by use of a global positioning device, wherein the global positioning device determines a location of the apparatus or a location of a vehicle.” The complaint stated that these devices infringe because of their use of GPS or A-GPS via a preinstalled map app, which can track location, map destination routes, travel time and distance, traffic estimates and updates. Further, the devices infringe on Claim 7 by using a device that “receives maintenance information associated with the travel route or maintenance information associated with a second travel route to the destination, and further wherein the apparatus provides the maintenance information associated with the travel route or the maintenance information associated with the second travel route via the display device or the speaker.” These devices will update traffic information informing the user of things such as “road closures,” “crashes or accidents” and “construction” via symbols on the map; NavBlazer viewed these symbol updates as maintenance information. Additionally, directions and warnings are announced on device speakers.

The companies’ devices allegedly infringed on at least 15 different claims of the ’136 Patent. The devices purportedly infringed on at least Claim 55 via the use of GPS in the devices. The argument parallels the argument for the infringement of the other patent. The plaintiffs allege the infringing devices also infringed on Claim 61 of the ’136 patent, for the devices receiving travel maintenance information, the argument is identical to the infringement of Claim 7 for the other patent. In the Apple case, the complaint alleged it infringed on Claim 62 because the devices receive updated weather information, which requires location recognition, this infringement was also mentioned for the infringement of the ’782 Patent.

NavBlazer has sought an award for damages and post-trial royalties.