The hands of justice dealt a powerful blow to BRP today, as a U.S. Federal court judge awarded Arctic Cat triple damages in the patent-infringement lawsuit concerning personal watercraft.
What was a stinging $15.5 Million slap on BRP’s corporate wrist is now a $47 Million (yes, I’m rounding up) bite out of its legs.
The release below indicates that the number of offending Sea-Doo watercraft was 151,790 units produced from 2009 through 2015. Dividing 46.7 million from that number, it equals just over $300 per watercraft.
I’m no expert on Sea-Doo watercraft or the intricacies of this lawsuit, but from what I can tell from perusing the interwebz and checking out their current 2016 products, I can’t help but wonder if current and future Sea-Doo watercraft sales might also mean a cut for Arctic Cat?
Either way, $46.7 Million is a big number.
Anyway, below is the release from Businesswire:
Arctic Cat Awarded Triple Damages of $46.7 Million in Patent-Infringement Lawsuit Against Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. and BRP U.S. Inc.
Court rules that BRP willfully infringed Arctic Cat’s patents on safety technology
Arctic Cat Inc. announced that a federal court judge for the Southern District of Florida (Miami) awarded triple damages of $46.7 million USD in a patent-infringement suit filed by Arctic Cat against Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. and BRP U.S. Inc.
Initially, a jury awarded Arctic Cat just over $15 million USD on June 1, 2016, after unanimously finding that the defendants willfully infringed all asserted claims in two of Arctic Cat’s patents for an innovative off-throttle assisted steering technology. Arctic Cat’s technology is an important safety mechanism designed to prevent on-water collisions and accidents in personal watercraft (PWC). Today, the federal judge tripled the damages in the case, due to the makers of the Sea-Doo jet propulsion PWC committing willful infringement.
Christopher Metz, Arctic Cat’s president and chief executive officer, stated: “We are very pleased with today’s court ruling. The jury and federal court judge found that each of our patents in this case were valid, and agreed that BRP willfully infringed on our patents over the course of many years.”
The suit concerned a long-standing safety concern in the PWC industry: the inability to steer PWC once the throttle is released, which can occur in emergency situations, particularly for inexperienced riders. Arctic Cat developed a novel and effective off-throttle thrust mechanism to make PWC safer. The technology provides riders with temporary “steerable thrust” when the rider turns in off-throttle situations to help prevent fatalities and injuries from collisions. The United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Arctic Cat patents for this off-throttle steering technology, entitled “Controlled Thrust Steering System for Watercraft.”
At issue in the case were 151,790 model year 2009 through 2015 Sea-Doo personal watercraft. These models infringed 10 claims of Arctic Cat’s U.S. Patent Numbers 6,793,545 (“the ‘545 Patent”) and 6,568,969 (“the ‘969 Patent”).
These guys are PUMPED about the $47 million judgement.