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Federal Court Rules in Favour of Bombardier in Snowmobile Patent Infringement Suit

In previous Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal proceedings concerning alleged infringement of four Bombardier patents, the courts ruled that three of the Bombardier patents were invalid and that a fourth one of them was infringed. The current decision involves a discussion of the validity of that fourth patent and appropriate remedies.

The defendant, Arctic Cat, sought to argue that because the counterpart of the fourth patent was declared invalid in the United States, the Canadian courts were precluded from deciding otherwise because the issue had already effectively been finally determined between the parties. The Federal Court rejected this argument as determinations of patent validity in foreign courts cannot be relied on in Canada to prevent litigation of issues to be determined under Canadian law.

Arctic Cat further argued that Bombardier’s patent was invalid because a third-party ice race sled placed on public display disclosed the claimed invention. However, the Court also rejected this argument because the essential elements of the invention were not apparent merely by visual inspection of the displayed sled. Accordingly, the subject matter of Bombardier’s patent was not ‘enabled’ by this display and so the patent was valid.

Turning to the issue of remedies, the Court awarded Bombardier a 50% split of Arctic Cat’s profits attributable to the infringed patent (totaling almost $3 million) and a permanent injunction preventing Arctic Cat from producing infringing products in the future.

A copy of the decision in Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. v. Arctic Cat, Inc., 2020 FC 691, is available here.

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