Inflight Connectivity Provider Cites Material Legal and Factual Errors, Asks Federal Circuit to Stop Gogo from Selling its 5G Network
Research Triangle Park, NC, 14 October 2022 – SmartSky Networks filed an appeal today asking the Federal Circuit to reconsider a lower court’s decision on a preliminary injunction that would prevent Gogo Inflight from selling its Gogo 5G network due to its ongoing infringement of SmartSky’s patents. SmartSky contends that multiple material legal and factual errors in last month’s opinion from the Delaware District Court merit further review by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
“We believe our case is strong, and the evidence is overwhelming. We feel confident that a full review of the technical information by the Federal Circuit can lead to no other logical conclusion except that Gogo immediately should be prevented from illegally using SmartSky’s patented technology,” said Dave Helfgott, CEO of SmartSky.
One of the issues SmartSky is asking the Court to consider on appeal relates to the lower court’s claim construction which led to an incorrect conclusion on Gogo’s likelihood of infringement on SmartSky patents. In addition, SmartSky submitted fact and expert testimony that demonstrate ongoing irreparable harm to the company, a key basis to support a preliminary injunction.
With regard to claim construction, the Court came to conclusions on highly technical information without holding a hearing. The decision on preliminary injunction was already significantly delayed by months due to a bench vacancy in one of the busiest U.S. District courts in the country. This led to a huge backlog of cases while the U.S. Senate confirmed a judge to the position. Even in the best of circumstances, patent cases like this are inherently complicated with mixed issues of law and technology. For these reasons, the Federal Circuit regularly reviews and often reverses all or parts of district court rulings, especially on patent claim construction issues.
SmartSky will file its appeal briefs later this year. A ruling by the 3-judge appeal panel is expected sometime during the late spring or summer of 2023. In parallel, the underlying infringement case likely will also proceed as anticipated, with full discovery and continued action by the Delaware District Court.
“A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary measure, and this is an extraordinary case of infringement,” said Helfgott. “Patent holder rights must be respected, or else big monopolies will continue to try and strangle innovation out of their marketplace.”
SmartSky Networks was founded to transform aviation through disruptive communications technologies, services, and tools. Its innovative air-to-ground network is now available with nationwide coverage. The network takes advantage of patented spectrum reuse, advanced beamforming technologies and 60 MHz of spectrum for significantly enhanced connectivity. SmartSky Networks uniquely enables an “office in the sky” experience with unmatched capacity for data transmissions both to and from the aircraft. This real-time, very low latency, bidirectional data link makes SmartSky Networks the best in-flight user experience, and a key enabler for new and enhanced applications and services. For more information, visit SmartSkyNetworks.com.