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Lightsquared Investors Sue GPS Makers

by Kurt Hoehne

PrintEarlier this year the high-flying Lightsquared satellite cell phone service ambitions came crashing back to earth. The proposed signals could have played havoc with existing GPS signals, and lots of interested parties, including boaters, just said “NO!” (See my Northwest Yachting Wave Writer columns in March and June). It didn’t take long for the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

There’s been a new and not unexpected course change. Several individuals, including Philip Falcone who headed the project financing, are seeking to recoup their money by suing companies they felt conspired to bring Lightsquared down.

It seems to me the Lightsquared investors rolled the dice on a new technology and fell to one of the many pitfalls these high-flying projects face. Of course the GPS manufacturers fought to keep the status quo, and they had some powerful allies like the military. The investors would have made obscene profits had it succeeded, and lost a bet if it failed. It failed. Is this really a good use of the court’s time?

Lightsquared continues to operate under Chapter 11 protection.

A Reuter’s article explains it all. Here’s an excerpt,

“In a 65-page lawsuit in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, where LightSquared is fighting to keep control of its spectrum, the company alleged that farm equipment maker Deere, and GPS companies Garmin and Trimble Navigation Ltd led it to believe its network would not interfere with global positioning system devices.

The complaint comes on the heels of a similar lawsuit against the GPS industry by Phil Falcone’s Harbinger Capital, LightSquared’s controlling shareholder.”


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