Arctic Cat Inc. has filed a patent-infringement suit against the makers of the Sea-Doo personal watercraft just six years after being sued by the same company.
The snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle manufacturer filed a suit against Bombardier Recreational Products Inc., and BPR U.S. Inc., late last week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Arctic Cat, which has its main factory in Thief River Falls, said the companies unlawfully used a technology Arctic Cat patented around 2000.
Arctic Cat said it developed an off-throttle thrust mechanism to make personal watercraft safer to address concerns over the inability to steer the watercraft once the throttle is released, often in emergency situations. The technology purportedly allows riders to use temporary “steerable thrust” in such situations. Arctic Cat representatives demonstrated the technology to Coast Guard, BRP representatives and others in the personal watercraft industry in 1999 and 2000.
According to the complaint, BRP attempted to provide off-throttle steering but ultimately transitioned to the Arctic Cat-produced technology around 2009.
“It appears that after seeing Arctic Cat’s demonstration, BRP initially took a different approach but ultimately decided that its own solution was inadequate,” Nicholas Boebel, one of two attorneys representing Arctic Cat, said in a statement. “Unfortunately … instead of choosing to be creative or approaching Arctic Cat directly, BRP simply took the technology that Arctic Cat worked hard to develop and protect.”
BRP sued Arctic Cat in the U.S. and Canada three years ago for patent infringement on snowmobiles BPR designed, alleging violations starting in 2003. In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, Boebel said Arctic Cat’s lawsuit was unrelated to any earlier litigation.
In response, Johanne Denault, a BRP spokesman, told the newspaper: “Note that we currently have an (intellectual property) infringement claim filed against Arctic Cat in snowmobiles.”
The amount Arctic Cat is claiming will not be determined until after the discovery phase of the lawsuit.
This article is reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.