Government Moves To Dismiss Ligado’s $40 Billion Lawsuit

GPS signal interference at center of the decade-old controversy…

The United States government late last week filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to dismiss Ligado Networks’ $40 billion lawsuit that alleges federal agencies blocked its legally assigned spectrum.

Ligado, in its October U.S. Court of Federal Claims legal filings, contends that the U.S. government, in “a multiyear misinformation and disparagement campaign” to conceal its activities, misappropriated the company’s licensed spectrum to support [U.S. Defense Department] systems without permission or compensation.  In addition to the government, Ligado filed suit against the Department of Defense, Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Long-running fight between Ligado and the U.S. government heightened last week with a motion to dismiss filing (Photo: Ligado Networks).

Ligado’s president and CEO Doug Smith said that the Federal Communications Commission, in a 2020 decision, granted the company exclusive authority over the use and licensing of the spectrum, which operates near that of GPS.

In the motion filed last week, government lawyers contend that the court lacks jurisdiction because the Federal Communications Act established a remedial scheme, including Ligado’s taking claim that arises out of FCC licensing decisions.  In addition, the motion says that even if the court has jurisdiction, “Ligado cannot establish a cognizable property interest in its FCC license.”

The motion quoted then Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who said that the “FCC is jeopardizing GPS signals that Americans rely on every day” after the FCC decision in 2020.  “Simply put, the FCC is jeopardizing GPS signals that we rely on for both our national and economic security for the benefit of just one company and its hedge fund investors,” Inhofe said.


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