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Press Release

Issued by SmartSky Networks.

September 17, 2020

SmartSky beats Gogo's patent challenge

SmartSky Networks has announced that it has summarily defeated industry incumbent Gogo's challenge brought before the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) nearly six months ago, proving SmartSky's longstanding position that its '947 patent, which covers some of the most essential features of a 5G air-to-ground (ATG) network, like beamforming and seamless cell tower handoffs, was and shall remain valid.

“Gogo has been proven unequivocally wrong in its challenge. We continue to believe it will have great difficulty commercialising its future 5G network without infringing on SmartSky's expansive intellectual property portfolio,” said SmartSky chairman and CEO Haynes Griffin. “Gogo has said many times in the past that our IP didn't matter and wasn't valid. The fact that Gogo bothered to challenge this patent clearly indicates that our IP does in fact matter. Moreover, the fact that the USPTO ruled in SmartSky's favour based only on a subset of SmartSky's opening arguments reinforces the strength of this patent since it was likely targetted due to a combination of its relevance and Gogo's perception of their own likelihood of success. Furthermore, this ruling reaffirms the strength of SmartSky's entire portfolio. Now everyone can know that Gogo's assertions have been thoroughly debunked.”

In dismissing Gogo's challenge, the USPTO ruled that Gogo “has not demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of prevailing in demonstrating that at least one challenged claim” among the 20 claims of the patent, is unpatentable.

“This win comes in a forum that statistically favoured Gogo and was made in connection with an asset Gogo likely handpicked for attack with the best shot that it could take. The failure of its effort this early in the process is both a repudiation of the baseless claims Gogo has made regarding our patent portfolio in the past and an important validation of our claims to the contrary. That said, we understand that the importance of our portfolio may dictate further challenges, and we remain poised to defend both the portfolio and the intellectual property it protects,” said SmartSky president Ryan Stone.

In April 2020, Gogo challenged one (No. 9,312,947) of SmartSky's now more than 180 patents supporting its in-deployment, next generation ATG network with 5G technologies. SmartSky had three months to respond, which it did, and the USPTO then had three months to determine whether Gogo's challenge was worth further review. It was not.

With this decisive win behind it, SmartSky is focused on finishing its network deployment and launching commercially in 2021. “The market leader tried to undercut SmartSky, but justice has been served and the little guy has won this battle,” Stone said. “We are an innovation driven company and have developed key enabling technologies to transform connectivity in aviation. The USPTO ruling rightfully affirms the intellectual property protection SmartSky has earned on just one of the many patents we've developed critical to advancing inflight connectivity.”