Johnson Outdoors Files Suit in Federal Court Against Maker of Lowrance

Johnson Outdoors Inc. announced it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Navico, Inc. for patent infringement by Navico’s sale of the Lowrance LSS-1 StructureScan Imaging System. Johnson Outdoors’ patent protects the Humminbird Side Imaging® sonar technology.
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RACINE, Wisc., Jan. 27, 2010 -- Johnson Outdoors Inc. (Nasdaq:JOUT) 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.

ABOUT JOHNSON OUTDOORS MARINE ELECTRONICS, INC.

Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc. consists of the Humminbird®, GEONAV®, Minn Kota® and Cannon® brands. Humminbird is a leading innovator and manufacturer of fishfinders, fishfinder/GPS combo units, chartplotters, marine radios and digital depth gauges. Geonav is a manufacturer of high-quality, easy-to-use marine electronics products. Minn Kota is the world’s leading manufacturer of electric trolling motors, as well as offering a complete line of battery chargers, Trim Tabs and marine accessories. Cannon is the leader in controlled-depth fishing and includes a full line of downrigger products and accessories.

ABOUT JOHNSONOUTDOORS INC.

JOHNSON OUTDOORS is a leading global outdoor recreation company that turns ideas into adventure with innovative, top-quality products. The company designs, manufactures and markets a portfolio of winning, consumer-preferred brands across four categories: Watercraft, Marine Electronics, Diving and Outdoor Equipment. Johnson Outdoors' familiar brands include, among others: Old Town® canoes and kayaks; Ocean Kayak™ and Necky® kayaks; Lendal® paddles; Carlisle® and Extrasport® paddling accessories; Minn Kota® motors; Cannon® downriggers; Humminbird® fishfinders; GEONAV® marine electronics; SCUBAPRO® UWATEC® and Seemann® dive equipment; Silva® compasses; Tech4O® digital instruments; and Eureka!® tents.

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