Patent Case Threatens Sales of Magellan GPS
Tech firm alleges key personal search system used illegally
CHICAGO — Nov. 11, 2010 — Attorneys for Earthcomber LLC petitioned a US District Court to block immediately sales and use of a technology that enables Magellan GPS users to personally tune local search, accusing Magellan of patent infringements that could ruin Earthcomber's market.
The motion targets Magellan's "RoadMate" and "Maestro" navigation systems. It is unclear how many portable devices or vehicle systems of the MiTAC Corporation, owner of Magellan, could be affected, were Earthcomber to win a preliminary injunction.
The action was the first in a larger patent case in the rapidly advancing mobile industry. In court filings, Earthcomber attorney Anthony Dowell argued that Magellan's "Points of Interest" features infringe United States Patent Nos. 7,071,842 and 7,589,628 owned by Earthcomber.
A hearing is set for Nov. 23 in U.S. Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
"Our system is built to make mobile work optimally for everybody — consumers, business owners and interest communities" said Jim Brady, president of Earthcomber and inventor of the system. "That's an increasingly valuable system that we market in services and partnerships."
He said Earthcomber is unique because it searches automatically and continuously based on a person's specific choices, tastes and interests. Users of the system can build unlimited personal profiles, Brady said. Earthcomber compares GPS readings where things on those profiles may be found, and alerts the user of discoveries.
Earthcomber's own award-winning applications are based on the same patented system that performs ongoing mobile search for individual personal preferences. The company has provided such services since 2004. Earthcomber is available for common web-enabled mobile devices, and in dedicated smart phone applications for Android, Blackberry, Nokia, iPhone, and others.