On the heels of a Feb. 2017 decision in Canadian court in favor of Arctic Cat over the same lawsuit brought by BRP in 2011…
(from Law360.com below)
…A Minnesota federal jury struck down claims on a pair of snowmobile patents Bombardier had asserted against Arctic Cat. The decision last week occurred one day before the Federal Circuit threw into doubt part of a nearly $50 million infringement win Arctic Cat had scored against Bombardier over jet ski steering technology.
The Minnesota jury concluded that Arctic Cat Inc. infringed Bombardier Recreational Products Inc.’s ‘669 patent covering snowmobile rider positioning and U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim had already concluded Bombardier’s ‘847 patent for vehicle frame construction was infringed.
But it didn’t matter: The contested claims from both patents are invalid, the jury found.
The ‘669 patent’s claims, 88 and 92-95, are invalid, the jury found, as both indefinite and thus too ambiguous to follow, and also anticipated by prior art in the field. The jury struck down claims 1 and 6-8 of the ‘847 patent as both anticipated and obvious to try. Those findings meant the jury never got to questions on damages against Arctic Cat.
Bombardier said in a statement Thursday that it was “obviously very disappointed.”
“We will review the ruling and decide how we want to go on from here,” the company said.
Counsel for Arctic Cat did not respond Thursday to a press inquiry. The two sides have spent years fighting over a variety of patents, with the instant suit tracing to a complaint Bombardier filed in 2011 accusing Arctic Cat’s snowmobiles of infringing four patents in all, including the two patents on which the jury ruled Wednesday.
The legal fight has gone both ways, with Arctic Cat scoring a nearly $50 million judgment against Bombardier after a Florida federal jury concluded that Bombardier’s Sea-Doos infringed two separate Arctic Cat patents for off-throttle assisted jet ski steering.
But a Federal Circuit panel partially hit the reset button on that win Thursday with a decision concluding that Bombardier was wrongly given the burden of demonstrating that Arctic Cat-licensee Honda failed to have proper markings for the challenged thrust steering patents. That case, the Federal Circuit said, must now go back to trial, although the panel agreed that the lower court judge properly rejected Bombardier’s motions for judgment as a matter of law as to obviousness, royalties and others in the dispute.
A ruling in favor of Bombardier at trial would mean that infringement did not take place until the company received notice from Arctic Cat, drastically cutting potential damages.
The case is Bombardier Recreational Products Inc., et al. v. Arctic Cat Inc., et al., case number 0:12-cv-02706 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
–Additional reporting by Matthew Guarnaccia, Cara Salvatore and Carolina Bolado. Editing by Joe Phalon.