ITT sues Verizon, Moto over GPS phone patent

Published: 3/25/2009 12:00 AM

A unit of ITT Corp., the maker of night-vision goggles and jamming gear to prevent roadside-bomb explosions, sued Verizon Wireless and other rivals alleging infringement of a U.S. patent for a Global Positioning System.

ITT yesterday also sued units of Finland's Nokia Oyj, Motorola Inc., Korea's LG Electronics Inc., Japan's Kyocera Corp. and mobile phone chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.

"As a result of the infringement," ITT "has been irreparably harmed and has suffered, and will continue to suffer substantial damages," company lawyer Gregory B. Williams said in court papers filed in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

ITT, which reported $11.6 billion in sales last year, said March 10 that it won a $317 million order from the U.S. Marine Corps to supply more than 4,000 of its "jammers" to prevent remotely triggered roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan from detonating.

In the Delaware lawsuit, ITT, based in White Plains, New York, is asking for a jury trial, unspecified royalties and a permanent injunction against infringement by the defendants except for activities necessary to support 911 emergency functions.

1994 Patent

The 1994 patent protects a GPS system that can transmit position information to mobile receivers from Earth-orbiting satellites in urban areas with line-of-sight obstructions, according to its U.S. Patent and Trademark Office description.

Nancy Stark, a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Nokia spokeswoman Laurie Armstrong didn't immediately return phone messages seeking comment. Motorola spokeswoman Kristine Mulford said the company doesn't comment on pending lawsuits.

Judy Pae, a spokeswoman for LG Electronics, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. Melody Parrette, a spokeswoman for Kyocera Wireless, said the company can't comment on pending legal issues. Christine Trimble, a Qualcomm spokeswoman, said the company is "aware of the complaint" and declined further comment.

ITT settled a similar lawsuit over the same patent in the same court in 2006. The company sued Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. in 2003. Samsung agreed to resolve the case on the eve of trial under undisclosed terms.

ITT fell 71 cents to $39.16 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has fallen 14 percent this year.

Verizon Falls

New York-based Verizon Communications fell 56 cents to $30.51. American depositary receipts of Espoo, Finland-based Nokia, each representing one ordinary share, rose 2 cents to $11.86. Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola fell 8 cents to $4.23.

Seoul, South Korea-based LG Electronics rose 3,200 South Korean won to 92,100 in trading in Korea. Kyoto, Japan-based Kyocera rose 200 yen to 7,020 in Tokyo. San Diego, California- based Qualcomm fell 70 cents to $38.12 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

The case is ITT Manufacturing Enterprises Inc. v. Cellco Partnership (d/b/a/ Verizon Wireless) 09CV190, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patent, click: 5,365,450.