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Garmin files suit against uAvionix

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I guess I'm not really against Garmin here per se, they do have a right to defend their IP.  But I think the patent here seems overly broad and will mean little or no competition in the ADS-B space.  How can anybody compete when reading the transponder code is required by the ADS-B rules, but nobody can do it except Garmin simply because they were the first to the patent office (it's not like they invented decoding squawk codes from a transponder signal)?  It just seems to me like patent squatting more than actual innovation and IP protection.

I actually really like Garmin products; I'm a huge advocate for Garmin Pilot, which I use on every flight and consider the best EFB out there.  I just think in this case they are being heavy handed and a bit anti-competitive.

 

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Well if Garmin is the only one that can read  the information from the transponder, doesn’t that make the FAA in violation of their patent ??

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I have installed the EchoUAT and Skyfyx.  The interface was originally for Navworx. (yes, I can pick winners..). Transponder monitor was used for pressure altitude, the GTX327 set squawk and Ident serially. FAA reported Pressure Altitude as unreliable, about 9% error rate.  I got the GTX327 tested, it passed 24 month tests. I contacted uavionix, then got a 'Navworx Multiplexer' cable. This cable has a small PCB that takes 9600 baud Pressure Alt (From Dynon D100) and 9600 baud Transponder info (from GTX327) and combines them into a 115,200 stream. Input is a 9 pin serial connector, output a flat molex.

Thus the EchoUAT is no longer using the 1090 transponder monitor.  I (not a lawyer) think my device is not infringing. It *could*, but now does not. Does this mean I can keep using it?

I do find this transponder monitor an interesting problem, as the query on 1030 for Mode A or Mode C is different, but the response on 1090 looks the same.  Seems the designers didn't allow for multiple queries in a radar environment. Somebody else (Freeflignt?) proposed having a small 1030 transmitter on the plane to make queries. I'm not sure how the FCC could approve that. The uAvionix patent proposes to pick up 1090 from power wires. I don't see how much that differs from using an antenna  per the Garmin '301 patent. A wire acts as an antenna... a good or bad one depends upon geometry.

Mode S is a different design, and has much more info in the response.

 

Edited by BMcCand - N248CT
Correct detail - cable from Uavionx

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Anyone here remember the FAA Alaska Capstone Project of the late 1990’s and United Parcel Services Aviation Technology's (UPS-AT) GDL-90 (branded Apollo)?  It used the existing own ship transponder for single point data entry (as required then and now by the FAA).

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uAvionix has reached an agreement with Garmin that allows them to “continue offering and supporting” their skyBeacon, tailBeacon and echoUAT products. The terms of the agreement are confidential.

It could be that uAvionix is paying a licensing fee, in which case we may see their prices go up or, more likely, their products pulled off the market after inventories are sold off. They may have requested confidentiality to help facilitate those final sales.

It could be they are not paying anything and Garmin requested confidentiality to avoid the public relations hit of having sued a competitor and lost, or they may want to keep other potential competitors guessing as to the outcome.

Mike Koerner

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The new uAvionix tailBeaconX does not use the transponder-decoding system based on power bus voltage perturbations which lead to Garmin's patent infringement lawsuit. Instead it gets the transponder code from an existing EFIS or from a separate control head they sell.

So... either uAvionix has some other reason for not using the power decoder in this product or their agreement with Garmin included that they not use it in any new products.

Mike Koerner

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