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Tue, Nov 27, 2012

Trial Date Set In Avidyne – L3 Patent Suit

Proceedings Set To Begin in February

A U.S. District Court has set the date for a jury trial in a long-standing patent dispute between Avidyne and L-3 Communications Avionics Systems, Inc. Trial is scheduled to begin in February 2013.

The lawsuit began in 2005, after L-3 charged Avidyne with patent infringement based on sales of its early model EXP5000 Primary Flight Displays (PFD) that are part of Avidyne’s Entegra integrated flight deck system for general aviation aircraft. The Entegra sales involved in the suit took place between late 2004 and mid-2005, and L-3's infringement claim is limited to only those sales. Avidyne’s Entegra system was revised in mid-2005, and none of Avidyne's later Entegra models, including the latest Release 9, are implicated in the lawsuit.

Avidyne denies that its early-version Entegra PFD ever infringed L-3’s patent, and also alleges that L-3’s patent is invalid. According to Dan Schwinn, President and CEO of Avidyne, “L-3 claims it invented a basic method of calibrating an attitude indicator to correct for the alignment of the device in the aircraft. Far from being a novel invention, calibrating an attitude device is something that was well known long before the patent was filed. Every attitude indicator ever made has had to be properly calibrated,” he said in a news release Monday.

L-3 had a development program for a competing integrated flight deck system for general aviation aircraft known as Smartdeck. Smartdeck was not completed and did not receive FAA approval until 2008, several years after the period in question, and was never adopted by any aircraft manufacturer.  L-3 originally sought damages based on the profits from sales of Smartdeck it allegedly would have received, if the system had been available commercially at the time in 2004-05. In a ruling issued by the court in Boston in March 2012, however, L-3's damage claim for lost profits was summarily denied.

“Avidyne has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending against what it views as a baseless claim," Schwinn said. "It is likely that L-3 has incurred attorneys’ fees that significantly dwarf Avidyne’s. With no hope of recovering lost profits damages, it is doubtful that L-3 can ever recoup the amount of money it has spent on this litigation, even if the jury were to find in L-3’s favor.”



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