The International Trade Commission issued a $6.2 million fine Tuesday against DeLorme Publishing, the Yarmouth company famous for its “Maine Atlas and Gazetteer,” in an ongoing patent infringement battle over satellite communication devices.
The civil penalty is the latest development in a case that began in August 2012 when Virginia-based BriarTek filed a complaint with the ITC alleging that DeLorme’s series of hand-held satellite communication devices, marketed as inReach, infringed on BriarTek’s patent for a similar product.
DeLorme, founded in 1976, has been transitioning for the past several years from traditional print products such as maps and atlases to high-tech devices. It employs about 75 people, roughly half the staff it had in 2006.
BriarTek filed the complaint with the international commission because at the time DeLorme was manufacturing the devices overseas and importing them to the U.S.
The ITC is imposing the penalty because it claims DeLorme violated a consent agreement reached in April 2013. The company agreed to begin manufacturing its inReach devices in Yarmouth and promised not to “import into the United States, sell for importation into the United States, or sell or offer for sale within the United States after importation any two-way global satellite communication devices, system and components” that infringe on BriarTek’s patent. The consent agreement was not an admission of guilt on the part of DeLorme, its attorneys have said.
Soon after the consent agreement was reached, BriarTek argued that the third-party resale of DeLorme’s inReach products, the importation of foreign-manufactured components and other actions violated the agreement. In March, an ITC administrative law judge found in BriarTek’s favor and recommended a $637,500 penalty. In April, the commission altered the judge’s decision and expanded DeLorme’s exposure to penalties.
DeLorme is expected to appeal the commission’s latest decision.
Whit Richardson can be contacted at 791-6463 or at: