The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida has rendered its decision with respect to a patent infringement lawsuit between Valcourt, Québec-based BRP and Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Arctic Cat. As a result of the Court's decision, BRP is ordered to pay damages totaling US $46.7 million (CA$60 million) in relation to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges BRP willfully infringed on two patents relating to a steering system incorporated into personal watercraft. In early June, a court unanimously found that the defendants willfully infringed all asserted claims in two of Arctic Cat's patents for an off-throttle assisted steering technology. Arctic Cat's technology is a safety-related mechanism designed to prevent on-water collisions and accidents aboard personal watercraft (PWC).
The Court's judgment formalizes the jury verdict of June 1, 2016, which held BRP liable for US $15.5 million (CA$19.5 million) in compensatory damages and awarded additional damages of US $31.2 million.
"We are very pleased with today's court ruling,' says Christopher Metz, Arctic Cat's President and Chief Executive Officer. "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 for PWCs, the inability to steer once the throttle is released. Arctic Cat developed an off-throttle thrust mechanism that provided riders with temporary ‘steerable thrust' when the rider turns during off-throttle situations. 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. The models were decided to have infringed on 10 claims of Arctic Cat's US Patent Numbers 6,793,545 and 6,568,969.
BRP says it believes the decision is unfounded and intends to file an appeal.