Vehicle Navigation System Uses Pirated Software, Suit Says

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Hungarian vehicle navigation and infotainment software manufacturer NNG Ktf. launched a lawsuit in California federal court on Thursday against automotive audio and video display company Epsilon Electronics Inc., accusing it of violating various trademarks and copyrights by using pirated NNG software in its display systems.

NNG said California-based Epsilon uses counterfeit versions of the company’s iGo software in its Power Acoustik and Soundstream branded head units, which serve as a command center for car audio and video systems. NNG said Epsilon employs a component of code to circumvent copyright protection measures used by NNG to prevent theft.

“Epsilon’s use of counterfeits of the NNG iGo marks was and is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception among consumers as to the source or origin of the navigation software on the infringing units,” the complaint said.

According to the complaint, NNG owns several U.S. copyrights and trademarks in relation to its systems, including the iGo Amigo and iGo Primo. NNG licenses its products to hardware manufacturers and requires a potential licensee to send two products to NNG for porting and testing. NNG only allows licensees to use their products once this process is successful, and the company is approved.

NNG became aware that Epsilon may be using the iGo software in its Power Acoustik and Soundstream head units, all of which come with navigation technology, the complaint said.

NNG ordered multiple versions of Epsilon’s head units, and upon inspecting the products found its iGo Primo trademark prominently displayed upon startup. Additionally, the “about” section of the head unit identified iGo as the navigation system installed on the device, and displayed a different unauthorized iGo trademark, NNG said.

The devices ordered by NNG contained SD cards with unauthorized or “cracked” iGo software. Under normal circumstances, unlicensed software would not run, but Epsilon modified it to duck technical copyright protection measures and permit the software to operate on the device, the complaint said.

Epsilon customers had complained that they could not upgrade the software, but did not realize it was because the system they used contained a pirated product, NNG said.

Epsilon’s president and vice president, Jack and Don Rochel personally benefited from this intentional infringement as well, NNG said. The company argued the Rochels supervised the infringement and had the power to stop it at any time, but failed to do so.

Counsel and representatives for NNG and representatives for Epsilon did not respond Friday to a request for comment.

NNG is represented by Michael J. McCue, Aaron D. Johnson and G. Warren Bleeker of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP.

Counsel for Epsilon was not immediately available on Friday.

The case is NNG, Kft. v. Epsilon Electronics, Inc. et al, case number 2:16-cv-06943 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

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