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BRP files lawsuits against Arctic Cat, dealer for patent infringement

BRP, manufacturer of Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, on Thursday filed lawsuits in Canada and the United States claiming that Arctic Cat has infringed various Canadian and American patents for the REV platform used in BRP's lines of snowmobiles.

BRP claims in documents filed in the Federal Court of Canada and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that Arctic Cat knowingly used certain innovations protected by BRP's patents, without permission. BRP is requesting that Arctic Cat halt production of the infringing models, that it destroy those in stock, and is seeking monetary compensation for the infringement.

"In recent years we have seen our competitors attempt to copy an increasing number of our inventions and designs," said Martin Langelier, vice-president, General Counsel and Secretary of BRP. "Innovation being at the core of BRP's strategy, we will not tolerate infringement of our intellectual property rights. We are, as a result, taking legal action to protect them."

In 2002, BRP introduced a new REV platform in part of its 2003 model lineup that allowed the company's Ski-Doo brand to regain the number one position in the industry, a lead it has since maintained.

The court paperwork filed in Illinois namechecks the new ProCross F 800 Sno Pro an example of a model that BRP says infringes on its patents, but the suit says the issue is not limited to that model. Coverage in the Montreal Gazette newspaper, however, says that the suit pre-dates the new ProCross chassis and dates back to models in Cat's Twin Spar and Sno Pro race chassis. Models mentioned in the Canadian paper include the 2007 Jaguar Z1, 2008 Sno Pro 600 race sled and 2008 TZ1 LXR touring model.

"We just received and are reviewing the filing, but it is too early to comment on it," Arctic Cat spokesperson Shawn Brumbaugh said in an email on Friday afternoon.

Route 12 Rental Co., Inc. in Arlington Heights, Ill., also is listed as a defendant in the case. An employee at Route 12 Rental contacted by Powersports Business on Friday morning said it's the only business in Cook County that sells Arctic Cat, and that Arctic Cat is the only snowmobile brand it carries. The same employee said Route 12 Rental hasn't heard anything from either BRP or Arctic Cat about the lawsuit and that "it's too early in the game to have any comment. At this point, we're still in the dark."

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