Jury to decide Honeywell’s TAWS lawsuit

 - December 1, 2008, 6:46 AM

Lawyers for Universal Avionics, Sandel and Honeywell are scheduled to return to a Delaware federal courtroom this month in the companies’ long-running dispute over terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) patents.

A jury trial relating to three patent infringement claims made by Honeywell in 2002 is scheduled to begin on December 1. Jurors will be asked to decide whether Honeywell should be owed damages by Universal and Sandel for infringing on patents applied in Honeywell’s enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).

Honeywell had been seeking potential damages of $90 million against Universal, but two court rulings last month limit what Honeywell can claim for lost profits and willful infringement. “Based on the damages assessments that have been proposed by Honeywell, we believe that even if they can prove liability their best-case scenario would be measured at a little over $1 million,” said Scott Bornstein, a lawyer for Universal Avionics. “Of course, Universal doesn’t believe [Honeywell] can prove liability.” Honeywell disagreed with the Universal lawyer’s assessment, saying in a statement it expects to win a judgment worth “millions of dollars.”

Honeywell sued several makers of TAWS avionics in May 2002, but only the lawsuits against Universal Avionics and Sandel have continued through the appeals process this far. Honeywell earlier won a judgment of around $6.5 million against Universal relating to a separate EGPWS patent dealing with so-called terrain clearance floors. An appeals court ordered that the lawsuit relating to the three remaining patent claims be heard by a jury in the federal district court for Delaware.