Cedar Fair not worried about patent claims from Funtime

Posted Thursday, August 26, 2010 12:38 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Cedar Fair announced Tuesday that it bought four WindSeeker rides from Mondial. The Funtime Group, an Australian company, says the WindSeeker is based on its own StarFlyer ride. Cedar Fair says its contract with Mondial shields it from intellectual property suits.

Read more from The Sandusky Register.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 12:57 PM

WHAT!?! YOU MEAN FUNTIME HAS NO LEGAL RECOURSE?!? UNFAIR!?!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 1:03 PM

Actual quote from the article: "It's almost like Mondial's plagiarizing our idea," said Mirfin.

Yup, that's right. Almost, as in, somewhat close but not really.

Hilarious. Good luck with your lawsuit!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 1:17 PM

Funtime basically shot themselves in the foot with this.

What park wants to work with a litigious ride supplier that prematurely blows a ride announcement for a major national park operator by crying to the media?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 1:31 PM

Doug Rowe said:
Good luck with your lawsuit!

Have fun stormin' the castle! ;)

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 1:35 PM

^ Ya think it'll woik?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 2:44 PM

You know, I could really go for a nice MLT.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 3:30 PM

I didn't realize there were such issues with wind, but if there were, it seems like the Mondial solution was an easy fix...and why didn't Funtime think of that first? I guess chain is a lot cheaper than steel arms.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 4:18 PM

I'm still not seeing how it's CF who allegedly violated the patent as opposed to Mondial? Isn't that like saying The Chiffons get to sue everybody who bought a copy of "My Sweet Lord?" Unless they think by suing CF, they get to hold the proceedings in the US court system as opposed to the Netherlands?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 4:46 PM

Brian Mirfin, the owner of the company, said he thought he had a deal brewing to sell StarFlyer rides to Cedar Fair..."It's almost like Mondial's plagiarizing our idea," said Mirfin. "It makes us very, very angry. ...Now, not only do we not get the contract, now we've got to get into litigation."

He "thought" he had a deal brewing? They "got to get into litigation"? What? This guy sounds like exactly the kind of person you don't want running or representing your company to an international audience.

Last edited by staticman00, Thursday, August 26, 2010 4:46 PM
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Thursday, August 26, 2010 5:00 PM

Agreed. Every time he opens his mouth, he further alienates the entire industry.

Although by that measure, we'd expect that Intamin would never sell another ride either.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 5:58 PM

So how is this any different then a B&M inverts rigid frame train and Vekoma's a non rigid frame that really is rigid thanks to super stiff struts?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 5:58 PM

"It'll take a miracle!"

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:20 PM

"It's almost like Mondial's plagiarizing our idea," said Mirfin.

It's almost like that guy cheated off my paper, so I'm gonna sue the teacher.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:57 PM

Having done a little IP consulting, but not being a lawyer, it seems to me that you could make a potential case against Cedar Fair on the basis of importing. If there is a US patent covering some particular technology, a US company cannot import something that directly infringes that patent. As I understand it, there are also prohibitions against "using" infringing technology for commercial purposes, even if you did not yourself develop the technology.

The contract between CF and Mondial, I'm guessing, includes language that Mondial warrants the ride is free of IP issues, with some measure of recourse if that's found not to be true. (For example, Mondial takes on the responsibility of defending against any claims.) It is a little odd that the action is being brought in the US rather than in the Netherlands, unless Funtime only holds a US patent on the starflyer, but not an EU one.

Finally, even given that the Mondial version genuinely improves on the Starflyer, that doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't infringe. If the Mondial version exhibits every single element of any particular claim in the Starflyer patent, it infringes, provided the patent itself is not found to be invalid.

Of course, none of this means that Funtime is doing anything other than shooting itself in the foot by trying to negotiate through the press. If they were serious about this, they would not have contacted the paper, they would have contacted CF general counsel. Of course, it is possible that they did, and were told to pound sand.

Edited to add: again, I'm not a lawyer, so this could all be wrong.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:04 PM
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Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:16 PM

Changing the wording on the website... Is that like putting red tape on the side of a drop tower at 2am after a 12 year old gets hurt?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:44 PM

The Funtime guy needs to keep his mouth shut or he'll be signing on at Christmas.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 11:00 PM

If Funtime thought their technology was being infringed upon, why didn't they speak up in February, when Mondial first released news about Wind Seeker? To have it suddenly be an issue when they lose a perceived sale doesn't win them too much sympathy.

It's also kind of funny that Funtime is complaining about plagiarism, when I've seen Star Flyer described in so many articles as "similar to a Wave Swinger, but much taller."

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 11:04 PM

Carrie M. said:
It's almost like that guy cheated off my paper, so I'm gonna sue the teacher.

And I'm gonna sue the school because I was in it and had to watch you cheat and it bothered me.

Too soon?

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Thursday, August 26, 2010 11:08 PM

Only if someone is breastfeeding.

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