UPDATE: And of course, less than 48 hours following the patent announcement below, Humminbird did file suit against Lowrance in Federal Court for patent infringement.

No, there’s no new bankruptcy action that I’ve heard about, but news of a new patent in the electronics field might end up in litigation, if things go like they usually do. The reason? Humminbird has just been granted a patent on its sidescan sonar unit, and that is bound to have an effect on the market place, possibly regarding existing units or perhaps new entrants into the market, if an infringement is suspected.

The official announcement today went like this:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted U.S. Patent No. 7,652,952 to Johnson Outdoors Inc. for the Humminbird(R) Side Imaging(R) technology. The approved patent protects Humminbird’s Side Imaging(R) sonar systems from unauthorized copying.

“Our Side-Imaging sonar technology is one of the most heralded innovations in the marine electronics industry in decades,” said Kelly Grindle, Group Vice President of Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics & Watercraft. “It is a game changer for anglers who demand the best equipment available to help locate and catch more fish.”

Humminbird first introduced Side Imaging sonar in 2005 in two of its 900-Series fishfinder models. Spurred by consumer demand, Humminbird expanded its offering of Side Imaging models to its 700-, 800-, and 1100-Series(TM) product lines.

Side Imaging sonar produces dramatically detailed and recognizable images of underwater objects and the bottom. These images allow anglers to pinpoint habitat, structure and drop-offs, which are prime holding areas for fish. With a coverage area of up to 480 feet side-to-side, anglers can search more water in less time to find the most promising
areas to fish.

“Humminbird has created an entirely new sonar category in Side Imaging technology, and we have been very thorough in our product development and patent process to assure that our technology is sound,” said Grindle. “We continue our efforts to enhance Side Imaging technology and will offer more features in the near future.”

What stands out in my mind is the fact Humminbird feels this technology is significant enough to patent, it clearly should get the attention of the bass fishing public.


3 Responses to “Sonar headed for the courtrooms too?”

I recall Bottom Line had side sonar in the 80s and ocean sport boats have been using some version of the technology for years. Competition could be good for the blue collar angler.. Ten year financing anyone?

by George Kramer

I couldn’t begin to point out the actual elements that were patented so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. It’s obviously more than merely pointing the transducer sideways.

Yeah, I had a portable transducer bracket for my Lowrance little Green Box with an aiming swivel design.