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Humminbird Side Imaging Technology Granted Second Patent
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Racine, WI -- On Tuesday, May 4, 2010, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted U.S. Patent 7,710,825 ('825), the second patent issued to Johnson Outdoors Inc. (Nasdaq: JOUT) for its Humminbird® Side Imaging® sonar technology. The first patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,652,952 ('952), was granted on January 26, 2010. The '825 patent expands the scope of the Humminbird® Side Imaging® sonar technology protected from unauthorized copying.
The '952 patent demonstrated the novelty of the Humminbird® Side Imaging® sonar technology, which produces images of underwater objects and the bottom that allow anglers to pinpoint habitat, structure and drop-offs, which are prime holding areas for fish, with a coverage area of up to 480 feet side-to-side. In fact, the Humminbird® technology produces images that are dramatically detailed and recognizable. The '825 patent further demonstrates the uniqueness of Side Imaging®technology to produce displays either in grey-scale or in color, to allow an angler to zoom in on underwater images, and to indicate the boat's location and lateral range with respect to the underwater images. As a result of these patented advancements, anglers can search more water in less time with greater ease to find the most promising areas to fish.
Consistent with the Company's intellectual property policy, Side Imaging® sonar technology development was thorough to ensure it was both sound and unique. The patent application process began in 2004 prior to the introduction of Side Imaging® technology in Humminbird® 900-Series fishfinder models the following year. Consumer demand prompted expansion of Side Imaging® sonar technology into 700-, 800- and 1100-Series Humminbird® fishfinder models in subsequent years. World renowned professional angler Kevin VanDam won his third Bass Master Classic crown in February 2010 in a boat outfitted with Humminbird® Side Imaging® sonar technology, citing it a key factor in his win.
On January 27, 2010, Johnson Outdoors filed suit in federal court against Navico, Inc., maker of Lowrance LSS-1 StructureScan Imaging System, for infringement of the '952 patent. The Company's complaint said Navico, Inc. had infringed on its '952 patent and actively induced infringement by retailers with full knowledge that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had approved the Company's patent. The Company's complaint has been amended consistent with the new protections afforded by this latest patent.
"It is our firm belief that Navico's continued sale of Lowrance LSS-1 infringes both the '952 and '825 patents. We will continue to follow the current legal process to its conclusion to ensure our intellectual property rights are protected, and to preserve our ability to invest in innovations that excite consumers and build our customers' business," said Kelly Grindle, Senior Group Vice President, Marine Electronics and Watercraft.
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 Johnson Outdoors, 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; Carlisle® paddles and Extrasport® personal flotation devices (PFDs); Minn Kota® motors; Cannon® downriggers; Humminbird® fishfinders; GEONAV® marine electronics; SCUBAPRO® UWATEC® and SubGear®dive equipment; Silva® compasses; Tech4O® digital instruments; and Eureka!® tents.
Visit Johnson Outdoors at http://www.johnsonoutdoors.com
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