LightSquared Sues GPS Manufacturers Over Alleged Broken Promises

LightSquared Inc., Philip Falcone’s wireless spectrum company, sued GPS manufacturers over claims their misrepresentations about the flawed designs of their products forced LightSquared into bankruptcy.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan against Deere & Co., Garmin International Inc., Trimble Navigation Ltd., the U.S. GPS Industry Council and the Coalition to Save Our GPS.

The defendants promised that after LightSquared resolved its “out-of-band-emissions” problems, its network wouldn’t interfere with global positioning system receivers, according to the complaint.

The broken promises “prevented the timely launch of a nationwide wireless broadband network, caused LightSquared to lose investments and contracts worth billions of dollars, and deprived the public of much needed broadband spectrum,” LightSquared said in the complaint.

LightSquared, based in Reston, Virginia, filed for bankruptcy in May 2012, listing assets of $4.48 billion and debt of $2.29 billion. U.S. regulators blocked the service after makers and users of GPS devices, including the U.S. military and commercial airlines, said LightSquared’s signals would confound navigation equipment.

In October, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman ruled that LightSquared could halt a lawsuit that Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners LLC brought against the same defendants. LightSquared asked the court to keep the lawsuit from going forward for 60 days because it might distract from restructuring efforts.

Ken Golden, a spokesman for Deere & Co., said in an e-mail that the company doesn't comment on litigation.

The case is In re LightSquared Inc., 12-bk-12080, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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