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Ski-Doo maker awarded nearly $3M in damages over Arctic Cat patent infringement

Bombardier Recreational Products, the maker of Ski-Doo brand snowmobiles, has been awarded $2.8 million in damages by a Federal Court judge after suing rival Arctic Cat over a patent infringement.

Arctic Cat infringed on BRP's 'pyramidal frame' from REV line of Ski-Doos

The 2017 Ski-Doo MXZ. Bombardier Recreational Products, the maker of Ski-Doo brand snowmobiles, has been awarded $2.8 million in damages by a Federal Court judge after suing rival Arctic Cat over a patent infringement. (Bombardier Recreational Products)

Bombardier Recreational Products, the maker of Ski-Doo brand snowmobiles, has been awarded $2.8 million in damages by a Federal Court judge after suing rival Arctic Cat over a patent infringement.

In a 100-page decision released Monday, Justice Yvan Roy awarded BRP a $135 royalty for each of the 20,934 snowmobiles Arctic Cat sold in Canada which infringed on the patent.

Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) could be getting more money from sales made after March 31, 2014, which were not yet factored into the total damages.

The royalty is slightly more than one per cent of the average retail price of $11,200 Arctic Cat charged customers for the machines.

Justice Roy also granted BRP an injunction against Arctic Cat, prohibiting the company and its dealers from selling, making or using any of the models in Canada covered by the patent in question.

It's unclear exactly which Arctic Cat models are affected by the injunction, which comes into effect July 6, 2020.

Both BRP and Arctic Cat declined to elaborate on which models were affected.

In a statement Arctic Cat says it "respectfully disagrees with the court's ruling" and plans to appeal the decision and the injunction.

Issue over snowmobile 'pyramidal frame' patent

BRP launched the lawsuit in December 2011, alleging Arctic Cat infringed on four of the Montreal-based company's patents.

After a 10-day trial in March 2015, the Federal Court ruled against BRP in 2017.

In three of the patents, the court found BRP's claims were invalid.

But on the fourth, in which BRP claimed Arctic Cat copied its "pyramidal frame" concept, the court found Arctic Cat did not infringe on the patent because its snowmobiles did not have one of "the essential constituent elements," the engine cradle.

BRP appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal in 2018, which disagreed that Arctic Cat's frame did not have an engine cradle. With this in mind, the Court of Appeal turned it back over to the lower court to decide whether the patent was infringed upon.

Back in the lower court, Justice Roy turned to the issue of the makeup of the pyramidal frame — a staple of Ski-Doo's REV line of snowmobiles which it launched in 2002.

"The purpose of the so-called pyramidal brace assembly is to distribute the weight loaded onto a snowmobile. The patent is all about enhancing the ruggedness of the snowmobile and the ability of the snowmobile to operate on difficult terrains; that enhanced rigidity improves handling," Justice Roy wrote in his decision.

"The real question is rather whether adding some rigidity, as the [Arctic Cat snowmobile model] is said to do, meets the requirement that there be a pyramidal brace assembly. I have not been persuaded that the skilled person would have come to the invention of the patent."

BRP could get more money

In awarding damages, Justice Roy also considered the sale of Arctic Cat snowmobiles after March 31, 2014 — which was the timeframe for damages covered in the original 2015 trial.

Justice Roy ordered the case be brought back to court to ascertain the total number of snowmobiles sold by Arctic Cat after March 31, 2014, which infringed on BRP's patent.

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