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Verdict: BRP Guilty of PWC Patent-Infringement, Owes Arctic Cat $15.5 Million


Arctic Cat wins court battle with BRP over PWC technology.

Who knew that Tigershark still had teeth?

So can I get a hell-yeah!? How about a Montego, Barricuda, Daytona and Monte Carlo!?

Today’s celebration comes on the heels of a Florida jury siding with Arctic Cat that BRP (Sea-Doo) willfully infringed two Arctic Cat patents and awarding damages of approximately $15.5 million. The verdict was handed down in a patent-infringement suit filed by Arctic Cat against Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. and BRP U.S. Inc. alleging that the makers of the Sea-Doo jet propulsion personal watercraft (PWC) committed willful infringement.

Filed in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the complaint alleged that the companies marketed, promoted, offered for sale, sold and distributed Sea-Doo personal watercraft that infringe patents owned by Arctic Cat.

The jury unanimously sided with Arctic Cat, finding that BRP infringed all claims in question on two of the company’s patents. The verdict was issued June 1, 2016.

“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.”

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 a unique and effective off-throttle thrust mechanism to make personal watercraft safer. The technology provided riders with temporary “steerable thrust” when the rider turns in off-throttle situations, which could help prevent fatalities and injuries from collisions. Arctic Cat representatives demonstrated the technology to the Coast Guard, representatives of BRP and others in the PWC industry in 1999 and 2000.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Arctic Cat patents for its novel off-throttle steering technology, entitled “Controlled Thrust Steering System for Watercraft."

While it’s satisfying to see this verdict and $15.5 million dollar judgment, I shudder to think of the millions of dollars wasted in goofball lawsuits between companies who seem more intent on tying up corporate resources than they do defending their intellectual property. I pine for the good ol’ days, when companies just kicked butt trying to develop cool stuff rather than shoveling millions into the legal system furnace.

As is cliche for such matters, the only people getting rich are the lawyers.

Nevertheless, I’m glad to know that the Tigershark era might actually have made some money for Arctic Cat, albeit 15 years or so after it exited the PWC business.

Arctic Cat Tigershark PWC

Arctic Cat WetBike ladies looking for $15.5 million reasons to celebrate.

These ladies are looking to celebrate with their Arctic Cat WetBikes.

Comments (10):

Eric Leigland aka ClassicCat says:
6/3/2016 9:42:00 AM

Thats great news!!! (even though 15.5 Million is a drop in the bucket for BRP)

How about the patent on the first slide rail rear suspension that everyone else "infringed on"?? Lol
Scott Watters says:
6/3/2016 9:52:00 AM

I like it, the Shark comes back to bite and BRP has to cough up some cash money homie!
Oldcrow says:
6/3/2016 10:01:00 AM

What ever happen to the BRP lawsuit against Arctic Cat for rider forward patents
Mark says:
6/3/2016 9:47:00 PM

Since this lawsuit was filed several years ago I wonder if there is any of the 15.5 million is left or if it all went to Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Kutak Rock the attorneys?
McGill says:
6/4/2016 12:40:00 PM

A huge win for AC, but just one step in a protracted process that has a ways to go before it is resolved. The judge also has discretion to triple the penalty. BRP should have approached AC to license the technology before engineering it into their products.
gbarchives67-72 says:
6/4/2016 12:53:00 PM

I knew a guy who would buy up AC Tigersharks cheap and restore them and then sell them. It was about 2 years after they quit making them. He said he knew what bugs to watch out for, fix those, and the water scooters were just as good as anybody else, after that. I've also heard this is where some mythical sled engine mods originated, by borrowing from the watercraft parts bin. I remember them sponsoring some kids sports show on Nick network when my kids were little. I forget the name of the show. I know it had to do with them running around jumps and obstacles. Didn't Cat make an 1100cc triple 2 stroke Shark? Won't this top end drop on the old Thundercat sled case? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Just stories I heard around the campfire at shows many years ago.
krom says:
6/4/2016 7:49:00 PM

Not only did they make an 1100 tripple two stroke, they had a direct injected one.

It used FICHT, under license from OMC
2kvrt says:
6/5/2016 1:50:00 PM

My 99 1100R still outruns a lot of newer PWCs at the lake. a watercraft way ahead of its time.
jeff says:
6/7/2016 7:51:00 AM

Fanatastic news.
I'm still hoping they use their Yamaha relationship and release one or two waverunner models painted black and green. Back in the day all those yellow and red ones just didn't do it for me.
DaDa says:
10/2/2019 8:17:00 AM

If you would like to learn more about the original Tigershark and Wet Bike PWCs don't miss these articles:

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