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Polaris Industries Inc. v. Arctic Cat Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 15, 2019

POLARIS INDUSTRIES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
ARCTIC CAT INC., and ARCTIC CAT SALES INC., Defendants.

          Alan G. Carlson, Dennis C. Bremer, Nathan Louwagie, Peter Kohlhepp, Samuel T. Lockner, William F. Bullard, CARLSON CASPERS VANDENBURGH LINDQUIST & SCHUMAN PA, for plaintiff.

          Joseph Herriges, John C. Adkisson, Conrad A. Gosen, Jason M. Zucchi, Maria E. Stiteler, FISH & RICHARDSON, and Kelly Allenspach Del Dotto, FISH & RICHARDSON P.C., for defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiff Polaris Industries, Inc. (“Polaris”) brings this patent-infringement action against defendants Arctic Cat Inc. and Arctic Cat Sales Inc. (collectively “Arctic Cat”). Arctic Cat pursued an inter partes review (“IPR”) of certain claims of Polaris's ‘501 Patent asserting invalidity based on obviousness. The Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“PTAB”) denied Arctic Cat's Petition and issued a final written decision. Polaris then moved the Court for partial summary judgment on the issue of whether Arctic Cat is estopped from now pursuing seven combinations it identified as invalidity defenses in the instant action. The Court will find that Arctic Cat reasonably could have raised combinations 3, 4, 6, and 7 during the IPR and will grant Polaris's motion regarding those combinations. Because Arctic Cat could not have reasonably raised combinations 1, 2, and 5 during IPR, the Court will deny the motion regarding those combinations.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises from the entry of Arctic Cat into the market for 4x4 Trail Recreational Off-Road Vehicles (“4x4 Trail ROV”). Prior to 2013, Polaris had an over 90% market share in the 4x4 Trail ROV market. Polaris Indus. Inc. v. Arctic Cat Inc., No. 15-4475, 2017 WL 1180426, at *1 (D. Minn. Mar. 29, 2017). In 2013, Arctic Cat introduced a competing product-the Wildcat Trail-which allegedly reduced Polaris's market share by 10%. Id. In response, Polaris filed five separate patent infringement actions-one of which is the instant case. Id. at *1-2. Specifically, Polaris alleged infringement of Claims 1, 10, and 11 of the ‘501 Patent in December 2015. Id. at *2.

         In December 2016, Arctic Cat filed an IPR petition (“433 IPR”) with the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (“PTAB”). (Decl. of Peter M. Kohlhepp (“Kohlhepp Decl.”) ¶ 23, Ex. 22 (“IPR Pet.”) at 2, 24, Mar. 12, 2019, Docket No. 463-29.) Arctic Cat asserted invalidity of certain ‘501 Patent claims on four grounds. (Id. at 7-8.)

         Table 1.

Ground

501 Patent Claims

Combination

Ground 1

1, 6-9

Sunsdahl, Suzuki, Brown

Ground 2

10-12, 14-22

Sunsdahl, Suzuki, Brown, Ranger Manual

Ground 3

2

Sunsdahl, Suzuki, Brown, Chonan

Ground 4

3-5

Sunsdahl, Suzuki, Brown, Chonan, Nallinger

(Id.)

         In this case, Arctic Cat asserts that the ‘501 Patent is invalid on seven combinations of obviousness summarized in Table 2.

         Table 2.

Combination #

‘501 Patent Claims

Combination

1

1-12, 14-22

Polaris RZR 800 S, Pontiac Fiero, Polaris Ranger

2

1-12, 14-22

Kymco UXV 500, Pontiac Fiero

3

1-12, 14-22

Ranger Manual, Bouffard

4

1-10, 12, 14-22

Leonard, Bouffard

5

1-10, 12, 14-22

Leonard, Pontiac Fiero

6

1-7

Suzuki, Brown

7

10-12, 14-22

Sunsdahl, Brown, Ranger Manual


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