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Simmons ski patent infringement suit against BRP moves forward

August 23, 2004
Filed under Features

A3-year-old lawsuit filed by Simmons Inc., Provo, Utah, will move forward after a U.S. District court rejected Bombardier Inc.’s claim of “prior art” on the Simmons Flexi-Ski.
“They just lost a big round in their fight,” said Val Simmons, vice president of Simmons Inc. “It’s nice to see them have to take a back seat in this.”
BRP and Bombardier Inc. were not available for comment.
The initial suit claims patent infringement on the Flexi-Ski in the design of Ski-Doo’s Precision ski. In its most recent claim, Bombardier said that neither ski was a unique design — it already existed through ski designs produced in the 1970s.
“They were trying to kill our patent,” Simmons said.
U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Cassell agreed with Simmons, stating: “No reasonable jury could find by clear and convincing evidence that (the Simmons’ patent) is invalid.”
The case will resume on Sept. 27, where the court will finish the trial, Simmons said.
“We look forward to finally trying this case on the merits before a Utah jury to obtain the damages to which we are entitled,” said company founder and president Verlin M. Simmons in a statement.
Val Simmons would not disclose the amount sought, other than to say it’s “substantial,” noting that sales of Flexi-Skis for Ski-Doos have taken a dive. The company also will seek a permanent injunction prohibiting BRP from continuing its manufacture and sale of infringing Precision skis.
“They’ve taken our ski and profited from it,” Simmons said. “It’s wrong for people to do that.”
The suit was originally filed against Bombardier Inc., but was changed to include Bombardier Recreation Products Inc (BRP). when the company split. psb

—Lynn Keillor

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