GoGo hits SmartSky over IFC patents

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In-Flight Communications supplier GoGo Business Aviation is challenging rival SmartSky Networks over one of SmartSky’s patents.

GoGo has submitted a petition to the US Patents & Trademark Office for a review of a patent (9,312,947) granted to SmartSky and requesting that the patent be re-examined “to determine whether or not they are valid”.

GoGo’s argument is that the patent, as granted, “do not depict or describe software defined radios for beamforming or multiple reuses of the same frequency as recited in each of challenged claims 1-20 of the patent”.

“We strongly believe that the ‘947 patent granted to SmartSky is not valid,” said Sergio Aguirre, president Gogo Business Aviation. “We have submitted evidence of published materials clearly showing that well before SmartSky asserts to have invented the concepts in the ‘947 patent, others had conceived of the claimed subject matter. Further, we believe there are many of SmartSky’s patents that are not valid. This is only one of many patents we could have challenged in a patent review.”

SmartSky, in a statement has responded, saying that it had developed, demonstrated, and is deploying a game-changing air-to-ground (ATG) network. “Creating a 10x or better inflight connectivity experience required substantial innovation, as evident by SmartSky being granted, both domestically and internationally, over 150 patents along with nearly an additional 100 pending.”

SmartSky argues that the GoGo filing is, in effect, an admission by Gogo that validates SmartSky’s longstanding position that its intellectual property is absolutely critical to the essential function of a next generation ATG network and adds that it is “highly confident” that the Patent Office will not reverse its decision.

Gogo’s products and services are installed on thousands of aircraft operated by the leading global commercial airlines and thousands of private aircraft, including those of the largest fractional ownership operators. Gogo is headquartered in Chicago.


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