Honeywell Aerospace - History - Commercial Avionics - Legal Settlement

Legal Settlement

Honeywell’s ring laser gyroscope (RLG) system was at the heart of a patent lawsuit regarding the special optical coatings applied to mirrors inside the inertial guidance system. In 1990 Litton Industries, who Honeywell had just won a $400,000 settlement from, sued Honeywell for $2 billion. The lawsuit was both for patent claims and alleged unfair business practices that led to Honeywell's monopolization of the RLG market. Later Litton increased the claim to $6 billion on the basis patent infringement was willfull. If successful, it would have been the largest patent victory in history. However, a jury only ruled in favor for $234 million in damages, which was overruled by a US District Court, saying the patent was unenforceable because it was an obvious combination of pre-existing technologies.

After 11 years of legal battles from 1990-2001, just before going to another round of appeals, the companies agreed to settle for $440 million to end the long dispute Honeywell called "time-consuming and distracting."

Read more about this topic:  Honeywell Aerospace, History, Commercial Avionics

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