In a patent-infringement court suit between Arctic Cat and BRP US Inc. (Bombardier Recreational Products), a Florida jury unanimously sided with Arctic Cat, finding that the defendants (BRP) infringed two Arctic Cat patents and awarded damages be paid of approximately $15.5 million. Arctic Cat filled the suit against BRP alleging that the makers of the Sea-Doo jet propulsion PWC committed willful infringement.
According to a report by PowerSports Business, the suit concerned a long-standing safety concern in the PWC industry: the inability to steer a PWC once the throttle is released as is common in emergency situations; particularly for inexperienced riders. According to the complaint, Arctic Cat was responsible for originally developing an effective off-throttle thrust mechanism.
The technology provides riders with temporary “steerable thrust” when the rider turns in off-throttle situations. With this technology, the hopes are it will help limit injuries and fatalities caused by out of control PWC’s. Arctic Cat claimed representatives from their company demonstrated the technology to the Coast Guard, representatives of BRP and others in the PWC industry back in 1999 and 2000.
The complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleged that BRP marketed, promoted, offered for sale, sold and distributed Sea-Doo personal watercraft that infringed patents owned by Arctic Cat. The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Arctic Cat these patents for their off-throttle steering technology, entitled “Controlled Thrust Steering System for Watercraft.”
“We are incredibly pleased that the facts of this case were clear to the jury and that Arctic Cat today protected the IP it owns,” said Nicholas Boebel of Hagens Berman, lead counsel for Arctic Cat. “Arctic Cat worked hard to develop and protect its intellectual property and today its fight for the rights of its original and novel inventions has paid off.”