Golf-Oriented GPS Companies Squabble over Patents

Nov 21, 2007

Few companies have suffered more from the decade-long slump in golf course construction than the golf-oriented GPS companies.
So it should come as no surprise that the industry players are warring among themselves.
ProLink Holdings Corp., for example, announced earlier this month that it was suing GPS Industries, Inc. and Uplink Golf for infringing upon its patents.
Specifically, the company believes that the defendants have violated and continue to violate U.S. Patent No.6,525,690, “Golf Course Yardage and Information System With Zone Detection.” ProLink claims that the above patent “controls the ability to place advertising on a GPS System on a golf course.”
The ProLink also believes that the parties have violated and continue to violate U.S. Patent No. 6,236,940, “Display Monitor For Golf Cart Yardage and Information System,” and U.S. Patent No. 6,470,242 and “Display Monitor For Golf Cart Yardage and Information System,” which include claims directed to monitor location and design. The plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief as well as monetary damages.
“We have spent a substantial amount of time and money internally developing the intellectual property underlying the ProLink Solutions GPS System, which enhances a golfer’s playing experience, offers a significant incremental revenue stream for golf course operators and delivers extraordinary value for advertisers,” said Lawrence D. Bain, CEO of ProLink Solutions. “As a media company our intellectual property represents a key asset and significant barrier to entry. We intend to aggressively pursue those parties that are infringing on the technology we have worked hard to develop, which has made ProLink the leader in the industry.”
GPS Industries, which recently purchased Uplink, countered immediately to the lawsuit, saying it intends “to respond decisively and aggressively to the patent infringement lawsuit filed last week by ProLink Holdings Corp.
“Our Inforemer Golf Management System is built on our own state of the art technology and is protected by our own intellectual property,” said Robert Silzer, President and CEO of GPSI. “We are familiar with ProLink’s patents, but simply have no use for that technology. We are confident that the Inforemer system does not infringe any aspect of ProLink’s patents. We are advised by Uplink, and our own investigation confirms, that the Uplink systems do not encroach upon these patents. So from our point of view, the lawsuit has no merit whatsoever.”
GPSI noted that its “legal team has considerable expertise, depth and experience in patent lawsuits such as this.” Silzer added that, “We are working closely with our patent litigation counsel and advisors to evaluate all available legal options and remedies available to GPSI and Uplink as a result of ProLink’s actions. Given the baseless nature of ProLink’s assertions in the lawsuit, and the ill motive suggested by the timing of the suit and by ProLink’s misleading press release, we are considering a number of possibilities. I feel, however, that both GPSI and Uplink are best served if I withhold further comment until our legal strategy is finalized and placed into action.”


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