Advanced Television

Gogo defends patent complaint

September 29, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Gogo Inc, the private aviation In-Flight communications supplier, is in patent dispute with SmartSky. Gogo firmly denies the complaint and on September 27th, a Delaware court denied SmartSky their application for a Preliminary Injunction. The Court said a full hearing into the merits of the claim can go ahead.

Under the ruling, the US District Court in Delaware denied SmartSky’s request that the Court preliminarily enjoin Gogo Inc. and Gogo Business Aviation LLC from making, using, offering to sell, or selling the Gogo 5G system pending the resolution of the patent infringement suit brought by SmartSky against Gogo.

The decision means that Gogo can continue installing its 5G/Avance system.

Gogo, in its statement, said: “This ruling supports our frequently stated position that Gogo is not infringing any valid SmartSky patent,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s Chairman/CEO. “We will continue to vigorously defend Gogo against SmartSky’s meritless patent infringement claims. We look forward to successfully launching Gogo 5G and remain unwavering in our focus on executing our strategy to deliver improved broadband performance for business aviation customers.”

However, SmartSky has taken a somewhat different view. Its statement said: “The legal bar is high for a preliminary injunction and such procedural rulings are rarely granted. But it is a preliminary injunction, which by definition happens before the case is fully considered by the court on a complete record. Gogo CEO Oakleigh Thorne released a statement that is intentionally misleading or grossly misinformed, saying “This ruling supports our frequently stated position that Gogo is not infringing on any valid SmartSky patent” and referenced “SmartSky’s meritless patent infringement claims”.

SmartSky added that was not what the court intended nor what its ruling said. “Thorne is attempting to misappropriate and twist the court’s opinion to create a public narrative that Gogo has not used SmartSky’s patents to build their ‘5G’ network. What the preliminary ruling does do, however, is allow SmartSky’s underlying case to continue.”

“The case against Gogo is clear,” states SmartSky. “It could not have created the forthcoming Gogo 5G system without using SmartSky’s patented technology. SmartSky maintains the utmost confidence in the merits of its underlying patent infringement lawsuit against Gogo and will continue to vigorously defend its patent holder rights. This decision does not change the reality that Gogo is illegally using SmartSky technology while ignoring potential damage to its customers, who may be left with inoperable systems when the case is ultimately decided in favor of SmartSky. SmartSky is eager for the case to proceed expeditiously and will continue to serve its customers with the fastest and most reliable in-flight connectivity that is available, nationwide, for business jets today.”

SmartSky claims a portfolio of more than 235 patents.

As of June 30th, 2022, Gogo reported 2,893 business aircraft flying with Gogo’s Avance L5 or L3 system installed, 6,654 aircraft flying with its ATG systems onboard, and 4,462 aircraft with narrowband satellite connectivity installed.



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