SmartSky Ups Ante in Gogo Lawsuit

 - February 21, 2023, 1:27 PM
SmartSky has added two patents to its federal infringement lawsuit against inflight connectivity company Gogo. (Photo: SmartSky Networks)

SmartSky Networks has amended its federal infringement lawsuit against in-flight connectivity company Gogo, adding two new patents and increasing the number of patents at issue in the case to six. The suit, filed in February 2022, alleges that Gogo was illegally selling technology and operating its 5G system, including the required Avance L5 system components. According to SmartSky, if the court finds infringement of any one claim of any one patent then the company would effectively win and Gogo could be permanently blocked from selling and operating its 5G system.

An attempt by SmartSky to obtain a preliminary injunction—which would have immediately halted Gogo from making, offering for sale, or selling its 5G network—was denied in September. SmartSky is appealing that decision. At the time, Gogo said the injunction denial “supports our frequently stated position that Gogo is not infringing any valid SmartSky patent,” said Gogo chairman and CEO Oakleigh Thorne. “We will continue to vigorously defend Gogo against SmartSky’s meritless patent infringement claims."

The amended complaint alleges that Gogo has been illegally selling and offering to sell its 5G air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity product in violation of SmartSky’s patented inventions. SmartSky said it is confident Gogo infringes on each of the six patents SmartSky is asserting, and the two new patents are related to patents included in the original complaint and directly negate several of Gogo’s noninfringement arguments.

“These new patents further protect our inventions from illegal use and make our infringement claims against Gogo even clearer for the court,” said SmartSky Networks founder and president Ryan Stone. “Gogo hasn’t yet been able to get its ‘5G’ system fully operational due to manufacturing and other issues, but their selling, and offering to sell, this product based on our inventions is an obvious violation of the law.” 

The two patents added to the suit cover SmartSky technology dealing with the handoff of a data communications link between an aircraft and a network of ground base stations and how those base stations are arrayed in broadband ATG wireless communications systems.