from the the-roller-coaster-of-patent-law dept
Reader Jerry S points us to the story of how Cedar Point, one of the more famous amusement parks around (yeah, I went there too) might run itself into a legal fight because it wants to buy a ride called the Wind Seeker, made by Dutch firm Mondial. The only problem is that competing ride maker Funtime Group, from Australia, makes a ride called the StarFlyer, on which they hold a patent (7666103), and they say that the Wind Seeker infringes. Also, Funtime claims that it'll be suing Cedar Point -- though, oddly, it has no plans to sue Mondial.
Now this is actually a case where Mondial admits, straight up, that it came up with this ride as a response to StarFlyer, saying they were getting requests from customers for a ride like StarFlyer, but which functioned better in more windy conditions (hence the name Wind Seeker, perhaps). And this is exactly how innovation is supposed to work. You have one product that doesn't fully meet the needs of clients, even if it has some nice features, and so competitors come along and tweak it and innovate... and the originator is supposed to come along and innovate on top of that as well. Sitting back and threatening to sue for patent infringement isn't innovation at all.