Funtime threatens to sue Cedar Point if it builds Mondial's version of its StarFlyer

Posted Thursday, August 19, 2010 12:59 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Australian ride manufacturer Funtime Group, which has built 22 StarFlyers so far, thought it had a deal to build one for Cedar Point after amusement park executives flew to Orlando to see one. Instead, Funtime says they're buying a similar ride from Mondial, and intend to sue the park instead of the competing manufacturer.

Read more from The Sandusky Register.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:03 AM

This is the single most bizarre thing I've seen in awhile. There is no good outcome for Funtime. They've basically just said to the entire industry, "If you shop with us, we're gonna tell everyone about it." I also don't understand how you sue someone who bought a competing product for patent infringement. It'd be like Oracle suing everyone who bought an Android-based phone when the complaint alleges that Google did the infringing.

Of course, a certain ride manufacturer executive wanted to sue me once because someone here was bad-mouthing his company's rides, so clearly legal expertise is not something these guys specialize in. :)

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:04 AM

Wow.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:05 AM

Ah, yes. Nantimi Hater. Remember him well.

Maybe Funtime had what they thought was an oral agreement with CF?

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 1:09 AM

Apparently Cedar Fair decided they wanted to be "just friends" and Funtime didn't like that.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:20 AM

Jeff said:
This is the single most bizarre thing I've seen in awhile. There is no good outcome for Funtime. They've basically just said to the entire industry, "If you shop with us, we're gonna tell everyone about it." I also don't understand how you sue someone who bought a competing product for patent infringement. It'd be like Oracle suing everyone who bought an Android-based phone when the complaint alleges that Google did the infringing.

Of course, a certain ride manufacturer executive wanted to sue me once because someone here was bad-mouthing his company's rides, so clearly legal expertise is not something these guys specialize in. :)

This is quite strange indeed. Unless there is some type of agreement in writing that Cedar Point had to only buy from them, I don't see the problem in Cedar Fair changing their mind.

Funtime could do a better job of promoting their new business ventures by making sure that they are in fact going to be BUILT at a location.

Something truly isn't right with what Funtime is claiming. Sounds like a case of Sour Grapes to me.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:37 AM

There's actually precedent here. Funtime has been able to prevent the operation of some of the star flyer copies at European fairs with the same patent.

It's an interesting case. There's also history out there; the Pinfari MMM29 coaster design was copied by IE Park, and the copy was cheaper than the original - which was one of the contributing factors to the eventual collapse of Pinfari.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY-C9_c8nOY

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 3:00 AM

It looks more like a giant Aviator-style ride to me, rather than a knockoff of a StarFlyer.

Looks like a fun ride.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 4:32 AM

Maybe this is just Funtime's way of announcing CP's ride for them a week early, as payback so to speak.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 7:24 AM

Wow. Somebody took their ball and went home to call their lawyer.

Cedar Fair would be foolish to ever give Funtime its business in the future. That probably means they'll buy five rides from them in the next two years.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 7:37 AM

Should I send the waaahmbulance to the Funtime headquarters?

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:11 AM

Pwn3d.

I guess we do not need anymore hints for the new ride :) I guess we all knew what it was anyway, but this was just funny...

Last edited by SteveWoA, Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:12 AM
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:24 AM

Of course, a certain ride manufacturer executive wanted to sue me once because someone here was bad-mouthing his company's rides

I never understood the thinking on that. I never personally saw any type of libel from that poster, in fact, it was mostly just opinions and stating of facts (facts that tend to make your company look bad when your rides start chucking riders often).

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:33 AM

Wow...strangest set of circumstances I've seen in a long time. It does beg the question:

Does Cedar Point proceed with the announcement next week knowing there will likely be pending litigation?

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:45 AM

I've been asked by a well known rental car company to remove my comments about them from my site. I refused. Never heard anything more...

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:57 AM

That's so silly. I love that certain companies think they can control what you say about them. Why not offer the best available product and services imaginable, and then not worry about a bad review?

As to the article here, I read it, and I honestly wonder what is going on. Funtime just seems upset. They said they'd be suing CP and not Mondial. I don't know the law rearding this, but why would you sue a consumer for buying an available product that competes with yours? And does the Mondial version actually infringe on any patents?

“It looks pretty much like the same thing to me,” Handal said, adding that he doubts litigation will be necessary.


But there are plenty of other rides that have come out that have perfectly legal 'knockoffs' from other companies who figured out how to give the same experience and not infringe one any other company's patents. That the lawyer doubts litigation is interesting.


“I think Cedar Point will not go forward without a license,” Handal said. “They can either do that or they can have the ride built by a licensed company.”


Or they can go with another company who has a similiar ride that doesn't have to be licensed by Funtime.

Maybe Funtime is just mad and did all of this to blow the lid of CP's announcement, and has no real plans to file suit?

Last edited by Tekwardo, Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:59 AM
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:01 AM

Seriously, that's like test driving a Focus, then buying a Civic and 2 weeks later, getting sued by Ford for "not giving them the contract".

Utterly ridiculous.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:04 AM

Tekwardo said:
They said they'd be suing CP and not Mondial. I don't know the law rearding this, but why would you sue a consumer for buying an available product that competes with yours? And does the Mondial version actually infringe on any patents?


Hmmm, the only reason you would think they would sue the consumer is for breach of contract. Although they bring the patent thing in - I don't think the lawsuit is related to the patent.

“Now, not only do we not get the contract, now we’ve got to get into litigation,” Mirfin said. “The ones that we’ll be suing will be Cedar Point and not Mondial.”

^ That quote makes it sound like they thought had a contract and CP gave back word or they almost got the contract, then didn't.

Last edited by Rick_UK, Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:04 AM
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Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:13 AM

Perhaps, but then why even mention the patent infringement? If thats what happened here (and it very well could be), then you announce that you're suing CP for breach of contract. But I would imagine a ride manufacturer wouldn't want to do that before a ride is announced, theirs or not, because that shows other companies that you're willing to blow their cover, and that's not cool.

This'll be interesting to watch.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:24 AM

It's hard to sue for breach of contract, if the contract doesn't exist. :)

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