Gogo scored an early victory in the proceedings of the patent infringement lawsuit brought by SmartSky. The District Court in Delaware declined SmartSky’s request for a preliminary injunction, allowing Gogo to continue developing, installing, and marketing the Gogo 5G solution.
“This ruling supports our frequently stated position that Gogo is not infringing any valid SmartSky patent,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s Chairman and CEO. “We will continue to vigorously defend Gogo against SmartSky’s meritless patent infringement claims. We look forward to successfully launching Gogo 5G and remain unwavering in our focus on executing our strategy to deliver improved broadband performance for business aviation customers.”
Thorne’s comments would appear at least partially overstate the significance of the ruling, though it is undoubtedly good news for Gogo. It does not mean the court has decided Gogo is not infringing on SmartSky’s patents, only that the situation does not pass a balancing test used by the courts.
Read more: Gogo sees 5G chip issues delaying deployment
The factors considered include:
- Whether the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits
- Whether the plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable harm without the injunction
- Whether the balance of equities and hardships is in the plaintiff’s favor
- Whether an injunction is in the public interest
All four of these must be met, not just one. As such, the burden to secure the injunction is relatively high. And the case includes significant testimony regarding the scope of customer migrations and whether the harm is irreparable and immediate.
While a preliminary injunction would likely shift some business to SmartSky as customers consider the risk that the Gogo 5G network is considered patent-infringing, that’s not a certainty, particularly given the timing of the case and the planned network rollout.
Read more: Gogo hits halfway on 5G deployment
And so we wait for the next steps from the court. But, in the meantime, Gogo can continue to deploy its network.
Update: SmartSky issued a statement corroborating the above analysis:
Thorne is attempting to misappropriate and twist the court’s opinion to create a public narrative that Gogo has not used SmartSky’s patents to build their “5G” network.
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