TomTom sues Garmin, but surprisingly not for patent infringement

Evan Blass
E. Blass|10.16.06

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As you probably already know, there's nothing we love more around here than some intense courtroom drama (our Series3 is already at capacity thanks to 24/7 Law & Order), so we were excited to learn that the age-old grudge match between GPS kings Garmin and TomTom is about to enter a thrilling new chapter. To quickly recap the events so far: American manufacturer Garmin sued its Dutch rival over patent infringement in February of this year (something about technologies designed to calculate which streets are important enough to a driver's route to be displayed), after which TomTom countersued with infringement claims of its own. Garmin then fired back at TomTom in August with yet another patent claim, but instead of continuing this amusing game of tit-for-tat, TomTom decided to go after its rival in familiar territory, filing a suit in The Hague that accuses Garmin of copying the look and feel of its devices. As The Register notes, Garmin and TomTom split the US market 50.8% / 26.9% and the European market 16.7% / 30%, respectively, so the stakes in this battle are pretty high, with each company fiercely trying to one-up the other on its home turf. Since all of these legal proceedings will probably take years to get sorted out, your best bet is to just sit back, enjoy the show, and don't let either combatant lure you off a cliff or into a big pile of sand.
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