LightSquared Backers Sue GPS Industry
Harbinger Capital Partners and other entities associated with the failed LightSquared 4G broadband network filed a lawsuit against Deere & Co., Garmin, Trimble Navigation, The U.S. GPS Industry Council and The Coalition to Save Our GPS. The lawsuit claims that the defendants failed to disclose information about GPS interference problems caused by an adjacent frequency spectrum that LightSquared was allocated to use and seeks $1.9 billion in damages.
According to the complaint, LightSquared and the plaintiffs “and their predecessors” worked with the makers of GPS products “from 2002 to 2009 to resolve issues relating to spectrum ‘interference’ that might occur from plaintiffs’ use of the spectrum authorized by the FCC.” Yet, according to the lawsuit, it wasn’t until late 2011 and 2012 that the defendants revealed that LightSquared’s “use of [this] spectrum would cause defendants’ GPS products to malfunction.”
In a statement, Jim Kirkland, Trimble v-p and general counsel, said, “The lawsuit is an attempt to avoid responsibility for the consequences of LightSquared’s plan to build a high-powered mobile network in spectrum adjacent to GPS, despite prior FCC restrictions. More than a year of intensive study…determined that LightSquared’s proposed network would have interfered with millions of GPS devices. This interference resulted from the characteristics of LightSquared’s new plan for use of satellite spectrum, not the design of GPS devices. The responsibility for Harbinger’s losses rests squarely with Harbinger. The lawsuit is lacking in merit and we will vigorously defend [against] it.”