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TomTom 5 Garmin 3 as TomTom win US Patent case.
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MaFt
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think it all boils down to personal preference.

i much prefer garmin over tomtom any day! but, like i say, it's personal preference.

patents were designed so that companies who invent stuff are allowed to make their money back on it before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon - i'd hardly say that taking someone to court over patent issues is a petty thing to do; it's protecting what you own.

also, garmin's support is top notch!

MaFt

ps - i tend to agree with the tomtom/ipod quote! the number of people who call any mp3 player an ipod is roughly equal to the number of people who call any satnav a tomtom...
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Skippy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Pathetic Reply with quote

Eldar wrote:
Could you perhaps give us a list of features which make Garmin a "far superior" product?


Not that ALL Garmin units have all these features but here are some of the ones I like:

Map coverage of Ireland
Off road routing for use when walking/flying/boating
Mapsource on the PC for planning routes, reviewing tracks and managing favourites.

However, as MaFt says, it's down to personal perference. I tried a TomTom unit out and quite liked that too. Both manufacturers make good units and the competition in the market is a good thing.

Eldar wrote:
Could you briefly describe what these patents are about? Perhaps bot the judge in the case and I have completely misunderstood the situation.


If you can find the patent numbers that were the subject of the court case then you can easily look them up. I don't have the patent numbers to hand and Garmin have over 200 patents and many more pending. Check out these two as an example of the kinds of things Garmin have patented:

7,120,539 "Navigation system, method and device with detour algorithm"
7,043,362 "PDA with integrated address book and electronic map waypoints".

There are a few others (can't remember their exact names/numbers) relating to the display of maps on a sat nav system and other functions which make scarey reading because they are fundamental to the way sat nav works.

It sounds like Garmin are testing the waters with these legal actions, ultimately the questions of enforceability, validity and prior art relating to the patents will have to be tested in court if Garmin and TomTom are going to enforce, exploit and licence their patents.
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Skippy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7,062,378 "Portable navigation system and device with audible turn instructions".

Confused 8O
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culzean
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:30 pm    Post subject: Tom-Tom vs Garmin Reply with quote

Did a bit of research of available GPS systems before buying a Garmin C510. My brother-in-law (who has tom-tom through his company car) has seen mine in action and admits it is superior to his tom-tom. The Garmin aquisition speed, sensitivity of receiver and routing software are all far better. Tom-Tom have the hype, but Garmin have the technology. This is VHS vs Betamax video all over again, technically VHS was crap compared with betamax but VHS got the advertising right.
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Eldar
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almahadeus wrote:
Eldar wrote:
The only one point I agree with is that Garmin's routing algorithm is better....

Is that not what these units are meant to do after all???????????????
Aren't GPS made for routing?????????????????

Better, but not "much better".....................

Almahadeus wrote:

Why would a fancy interface with more bells and whistles but worse routing algorithm and mapping software make a better unit??????????

I don't know............ I don't have anything answering this description.............. I have a TomTom with a simple,,,,,,,,,,,,, easy-to-use interface and an excellent map display.............. I also have a Nuvi with a not so easy-to-use interface and a slightly annoying map display............ The map data is about the same on both.................

Almahadeus wrote:

Garmin Vs TomTom = Garmin will always win on routing, mapping and customer service (and if you disagree then you haven't read anything on pocketgpsworld).

I don't normally read these forums, so I cannot possibly comment on the effect the respective customer services might have on the map data quality and routing algorithms. I'm also not a supporter of either TomTom or Garmin, so I'm afraid you'll have to see this match without me.

Almahadeus wrote:

They are also the pioneers of automotive GPS waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay before TomTom (for those who know nothing about GPS units).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinosaurs
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Eldar
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Pathetic Reply with quote

Skippy wrote:
Eldar wrote:
Could you perhaps give us a list of features which make Garmin a "far superior" product?


Not that ALL Garmin units have all these features but here are some of the ones I like:

Map coverage of Ireland
Off road routing for use when walking/flying/boating
Mapsource on the PC for planning routes, reviewing tracks and managing favourites.


The map coverage is down to the map data provider, and I agree that the TOPO and off-road maps feature is brilliant, but TomTom never claimed to have off-road capabilities, which I think you'd agree is of limited use to the majority of motorists.

Skippy wrote:

However, as MaFt says, it's down to personal perference. I tried a TomTom unit out and quite liked that too. Both manufacturers make good units and the competition in the market is a good thing.


indeed, I cannot agree more.

Skippy wrote:
Eldar wrote:
Could you briefly describe what these patents are about? Perhaps bot the judge in the case and I have completely misunderstood the situation.


If you can find the patent numbers that were the subject of the court case then you can easily look them up. I don't have the patent numbers to hand


errr... but you studied them beforehand and found that the case against TT had some merits?
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Eldar
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skippy wrote:
7,062,378 "Portable navigation system and device with audible turn instructions".

Confused 8O


Yes, scary, isn't it? That's the patent which was granted in June 2006 and immediately used by Garmin to start the "Texas" lawsuit against TomTom (due to be heard in 2008).

Could somebody tell me
a) what sort of innovation Garmin is claiming to have made
b) the purpose of this patent
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Skippy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Pathetic Reply with quote

Eldar wrote:
TomTom never claimed to have off-road capabilities, which I think you'd agree is of limited use to the majority of motorists.


The main place I use the "Off road" feature is when I use the compass pointer and distance to find my way back to the car or bike in a big car park! Laughing Not sure if this is possible on TomTom, but I love the feature on the Garmin, it's saved me a lot of grief! I also use it sometimes when walking because the quickest way from A to B is not necessarily along the road.

Limited use? Perhaps it is. I'm sad to see the "dumbing down" of sat nav units. The early Garmins had tons of features on them and they have been junked in favour of more easy to use fat finger user interfaces. That's progress I guess, and you can still get units like the 60cs which are multipurpose.

Eldar wrote:
errr... but you studied them (the patents) beforehand and found that the case against TT had some merits?


I did have a look at some of Garmin's patents when I first heard about the legal disputes betweem the companies. I'm not a lawyer so I'm not in a position to make a judgement on the merits of the case or validity of the patents.

As you say, it's very scarey to see some of the things Garmin and TomTom have been granted patents for - many of them quite recently too.....

What sort of innovation? Well US Patent 7,062,378 pretty much claims that they invented Sat Nav, doesn't it. What would YOU do if you were granted a patent like that? 8O Wink
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Eldar
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Pathetic Reply with quote

Skippy wrote:

The main place I use the "Off road" feature is when I use the compass pointer and distance to find my way back to the car or bike in a big car park! Laughing


I use Nuvi for walking in France and it's absolutely brilliant, not forgetting the fact that it lasts longer on the battery than TomTom. I also love the ability to make maps for Garmin, although it has nothing to do with them :-)

Skippy wrote:
... US Patent 7,062,378 pretty much claims that they invented Sat Nav, doesn't it. What would YOU do if you were granted a patent like that? 8O Wink


Invade Iraq probably - they must have had a few GPS devices in the country...:-)
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TheBrit
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almahadeus wrote:
Aren't GPS made for routing?????????????????

Yes - for routing cruise missiles etc.

The in car navigation is only possible because the US Military 'let' us use the signal from the satellites. :D
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jimbo_hippo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has little to do with the actual patents being disputed and more to do with facing up to eachother and calling eachothers bluff. Of course this had to kick off in the US and that's because the US Patent system and the way issues are fought are fundamentally different stateside. It is also considerably easier to obtain a patent on the most obtuse function or feature and anyone who wishes to take issue better save up their pocket money because there are no winners except the legal system and its employees.

I manufacture and sell a product worldwide which is popular in the US and to date we have not been challenged (we aren't in breech of anything but you should see the nature of some of these cases!). But I fear the day it happens. Its a multimillion dollar process with little chance of claiming back your expenses. You can patent an idea which isn't strictly yours but isn't yet covered meaning companies sweep up anything that looks like a bargaining and pressuring tool and add it to the arsenal. The kind of patents that would be thrown out by patent offices in other continents. And whereas in europe, anyone who can prove 'prior art' has a good chance of holding its ground, the US works slightly differently but differently enough to scare people off.

Many feel that the US Patent system and the implementation of challenges favours US companies although this is debatable. However I know several innovative companies in our industry who just don't sell in the US because one patent challenge would wipe them out and harm their steady growth elsewhere.

The idea of patents is to protect your innovations or allow others to benefit from it if you wish but not without renumeration for coming up with the idea. However, when big companies get involved its just a beetle crushing scenario. I am currently discussing such issues with a consultant and some of the stories would scare the cr*p out of anyone thinking of marketing an innovation stateside.

As the SatNav market hots up in the US (still not as common as over here) expect these pointless bunfights to escalate beyond belief. It has little to do with the actual issues and more to do with a game played by legal teams within big companies. I doubt either of these companies wanted to issue press releases about this. They'd rather be shouting about new products. But unfortunately announcing to the press about legal sh*t and how much muscle you have is all just part if the game. Hence the issue of the press release from Garmin swiftly in case they look weak! Keep the share prices up guys! It's all bollo**s and I bet if the top guys from both companies had a brandy and cigar together they'd agree. But its probably out of their hands.

The main reason I feel quite strongly about this is because as a smaller company trying to be innovative, the amount you have to spend getting legal teams to trawl through endless flaky patents actually crushes innovation.

One upside of the US approach is that some companies have so many overlapping patents registered that they will often avoid smaller claims for fear of weakening bigger more powerful claims and this is often the way the battles are fought and settled away from the courtroom.

And while the guys-with-the-ties fight eachother you can bet the creative boys at Tom Tom, Garmin and all the others will carry on regardless because it has little to do with creativity and more to do with big business and survival.

You could argue that the US patent system is there to protect US industry and its innovations. I'm sure there wil be a few flames coming my way from folk who think I might be being xenophobic. But I have plenty of compatriates stateside who think their own system is slowly isolating them from sharing and generating revenue from genuine innovations. At a Vegas tradeshow last year a US competitor of mine, over a beer, cited the US patent system as the best example of cutting off your nose to spite your face he could imagine. As with all countries, there are the great and the not so great rules and laws. Business within the US is actually an interesting approach IMHO. Fast, exciting and fun but these daft rules run the risk of them ending up trading with themselves because everyone is filling their pants at the thought of hopping on a plane with some samples in their bag.

Sorry for the rant. Just something close to my heart at the moment.
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