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Mondial Wind Seeker

Cedar Point's planned new attraction for the 2011 season has been revealed as a Mondial Wind Seeker swing ride - by a rival manufacturer that plans to sue the park.

According to the Sandusky Register, Funtime says that Mondial's ride infringes upon a patent it has filed for its own StarFlyer attraction. Both models see riders swinging around a central tower, though Mondial's version uses hinged steel arms to hold the ride seats rather than the chains employed by the Funtime ride. Cedar Point's Wind Seeker is set to be called StratoSoar when it opens next year.

Funtime, based in Australia, alleges that Cedar Point was close to a deal to purchase a StarFlyer before opting for the ride from its Dutch rival instead. Director Brian Mirfin says that executives from the park visited Orlando's Magical Midway to view an existing StarFlyer attraction in action several months ago, and Funtime now plans to sue the park over the alleged patent infringement.

The StarFlyer is an established attraction, with 22 installed at amusement parks worldwide. These include a towering 384-feet-tall version at Prater Park in Vienna, which is shown in the video below. Mirfin claims that Funtime was in talks to provide an even taller version for Cedar Point - standing at some 400 feet.

Mondial's Wind Seeker, meanwhile, is a more recent model that was only announced in February. At the time, the company said it had been designed to meet the needs of parks that were demanding a "tall swing ride" that could be operated in normal wind conditions - something which it claims is achieved by using the steel arms in place of more flexible chains.

Funtime claims on its website that it has filed a patent on the design of the StarFlyer, although it is yet to be granted. For its part, Mondial also claims to have applied for a patent on the Wind Seeker design. However, the attorney who filed FunTime's patent, Tony Handal, says that he believes that Mondial's design clearly infringes on Funtime's, saying "I think Cedar Point will not go forward without a license."

In May, Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel confirmed that the company had already ordered a new thrill ride for Cedar Point for the 2011 season. However, the park has so far refused to be drawn on the type of ride that is to be installed. It now faces the unusual situation of having a major addition revealed by an agitated would-be supplier instead of its own public relations department.

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

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Comments

Funtime is attempting to intimidate Cedar Point into purchasing their ride. If Funtime was serious about a patent dispute then it would have sued Mondial instead of Cedar Point. Mondial is the one allegedly infringing on a patent that doesn't exist yet despite 22 ride installations. Cedar Fair should ignore Funtime's threats, blacklist the company from future business, and then counter sue them for the PR hit. The general public really does not care about this petty dispute between ride manufacturers and parks.

Does Mondial's model infringe on Funtime's? I don't know nor do I care especially when the patent hasn't been approved yet. Most other people visiting Cedar Point also do not care. This is a dispute between Mondial and Funtime. It's a shame Cedar Point has become collateral damage.

In reply to by BigDragon (not verified)

So well said.Let the companies squabble about patents and such while I drool over the thought of soaring 40 stories above the Oceana Midway and Lake Erie. Both the Star Flyer and the Windseeker look great, but I like the outward tilt of the arms on the Windseeker more than the chains of the Star Flyer. I can only imagine swinging around somewhere near the top of Top Thrill Dragster repeatedly, actually having time to fear the immense height rather than just a few seconds. This ride may prove to be more nerve racking than any ride in the park. At 400 or more feet this is definitely going to be a thrill and IMO the Cedar Point skyline is going to look even more incredible. Way to go CP!

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Agreed that the main "news" here is that Cedar Point is installing this type of ride, rather than the patent dispute. In my own (limited) experience of patenting inventions, it's unlikely that Funtime holds a blanket patent on this type of ride - it's more likely that the patent it has filed features a number of claims covering specific elements of the design. Mondial may well have a case for saying it isn't infringing on these, or even that they aren't valid - these things take years to work through the courts (though it's unlikely to ever get that far).

It's bad PR for Funtime, really. By all means speak with Cedar Point's lawyers, but coming out publicly like this is not going to fill their other customers with confidence that negotiations over future contracts will be kept confidential.

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