BROOMFIELD — Gogo Inc. (Nasdaq: GOGO), a Broomfield-based in-flight broadband connectivity firm, announced Monday it has filed a petition to challenge the validity of a patent held by competitor SmartSky Networks LLC.

(Courtesy of Gogo)

SmartSky’s patent — referred to as U.S. Patent No. 9,312,947 or the ‘947 patent — “relates to a broadband data communications system for in-flight aircraft,” according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records.

Gogo is requesting an inter partes review (IPR), which allows parties to challenge patents held for unoriginal, obvious or otherwise non-patentable inventions.

“We strongly believe that the ‘947 patent granted to SmartSky is not valid,” Gogo business aviation president Sergio Aguirre said in a prepared statement. “We have submitted evidence of published materials clearly showing that well before SmartSky asserts to have invented the concepts in the ‘947 patent, others had conceived of the claimed subject matter. Further, we believe there are many of SmartSky’s patents that are not valid. This is only one of many patents we could have challenged in a patent review.”

In an email to BizWest, SmartSky president Ryan Stone pushed back on Gogo’s assertions.

“Simply put, this IPR filing is effectively an admission by Gogo that validates SmartSky’s long standing position that our intellectual property is absolutely critical to the essential function of a next generation [air-to-ground] network,” he said. “… We have conducted a preliminary review of the Gogo filing and are highly confident the USPTO will not reverse its prior grant of this patent that resulted from its extensive, three-year long examination process.”

SmartSky, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, plans to file a formal response within three months.

“Based on the IPR process and the merits of our response, we expect a favorable decision that will maintain the validity of SmartSky’s patent,” Stone said.

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