EGPWS patent trial begins this month

 - March 19, 2008, 7:07 AM

Rival avionics manufacturers are about to get their day in court. Jury selection in the patent trial involving Honeywell and competing makers of terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) began October 31 in Wilmington, Del., and will be followed by opening arguments in the case starting on November 3.

Lawyers for Honeywell will argue in U.S. District Court that the defendants in the case–TAWS developers Universal Avionics of Tucson, Ariz., and Sandel Avionics of Vista, Calif.–are infringing patents applied in Honeywell’s enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), introduced in 1996.

Honeywell last spring settled its patent-infringement lawsuit against Goodrich (now
L-3 Avionics Systems) and entered into private arbitration with ACSS, owned jointly by
L-3 Communications and Thales of France.

The FAA is requiring that nearly all turbine-powered airplanes be equipped with the types of terrain-protection avionics at the heart of the legal dispute by March 29, 2005.