Dacus firm wins multi-million judgment in patent case

Deron Dacus. Courtesy photo.


Tyler's Dacus law firm won a $39 million verdict for Lowrance, a fishing and boating electronics firm in an important patent infringement case.

On Friday, a federal jury in Marshall found that Garmin infringed on a pair of patents owned by Navico Inc., parent company of Lowrance. The patents are part of the design of sonar scanning units - fish finders.

Navico filed suit in June 2016, alleging Garmin was improperly using its intellectual property relating to down scan imaging, used in its fish finders. The jury found willful infringement.

"Most people are familiar with these brands, and probably what you've seen in the past and what your fathers used was old two-dimensional fish-finders," said lead attorney Deron Dacus. "But the new tech produces a picture-like image. If there was a tree below your boat, it would look like a picture you'd hang on your wall. It really revolutionized the industry."

Garmin used that technology in its devices, without regard to Navico's patents, Dacus said. And it did so willfully, the jury found.

"And the jury found there was a callous disregard or bad faith actions by Garmon in using that technology," he said. "That's why Navico will seek an enhancement and trebling of the jury's damages based on the finding of willfulness. That will take place at a later date."

The trial lasted four days, and 10 witnesses were called.

"To some extent, when you're preparing for a case like this, you have to become an expert," Dacus said. "But of course, both sides retained experts in sonar. As attorneys, we really rely on outside experts to help explain matters to juries."

This was the fourth verdict for the Dacus Firm in the last 36 months that was in excess of $20 million.

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