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Nov. 6 — A patent dispute between Minnesota-based ATV rivals Polaris and Arctic Cat should be stayed pending review of the relevant patents in an administrative proceeding, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota ruled Nov. 5.
Reversing an order by a U.S. magistrate judge, the court said that the parties had easily met the requirements for a stay.
Polaris Industries Inc. of Medina, Minn., is a designer and maker of snowmobiles and off-road vehicles. It holds several patents applying to “side-by-side all-terrain vehicles” that are related to its Wildcat series of ATVs.
Arctic Cat Inc. of Plymouth, Minn.—along with its affiliate Arctic Cat Sales Inc. of Thief River Falls, Minn.—is a competitor of Polaris. Polaris sued Arctic Cat, alleging infringement of the Wildcat patents.
In May, the district court consolidated the three cases, but the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the Patent and Trademark Office had already in February instituted inter partes review of the claims of one of the patents. The PTAB's determination is due by February.
Arctic Cat then asked for inter partes review of two more patents, and a decision on institution of review of those patents is also due in February. Should those patents be reviewed, a decision would be due some time in 2017.
In August, both parties filed a stipulation with the court requesting a stay pending inter partes review before the PTAB. The motion was denied by a magistrate judge, who noted the length of time that the cases had been pending, and the parties appealed to the court.
• whether a stay will unduly prejudice or provide a tactical disadvantage to the non-moving party,
• whether a stay will simplify the issues in question, and
• whether the litigation is at an early stage.
The magistrate judge's denial of the joint motion was “clearly erroneous,” the court said, because all three of these factors weighed in favor of a stay.
The court said that the stay should be granted “but with the clear expectation that the parties are using the IPR process in good faith in order to narrow or resolve the consolidated cases, and not simply to prolong or obfuscate the litigation.”
The court's ruling was issued by Judge John R. Tunheim.
Polaris was represented by Carlson, Caspers, Vandenburgh, Lindquist & Schuman P.A., Minneapolis. Arctic Cat was represented by Fish & Richardson P.C., Minneapolis.
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