The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology faces a massive lawsuit over allegations that the school botched the production design of a solar-powered golf course.
At the Turn Inc. and owner Gord Nelson are suing SAIT for $34 million in damages for failing to properly develop its solar-powered food and drink ordering system.
“The plaintiffs’ invention is an innovative and unique food and beverage ordering system designed to be placed on the ninth tee box of golf courses,” says the lawsuit, filed in Calgary Court of King’s Bench.
“This allows golfers to order food and drinks from the golf course before starting the ninth hole, so that the food and drinks are ready for the golfers when they complete the ninth hole.”
The claim says Nelson and At The Turn had a number of positive encounters with “dozens of golf courses and golf course operators in Canada and the United States about the plaintiff’s invention.”
“These courses were given to understand that the plaintiff’s invention should be ready to be installed on their courses on or about 2021 or 2022.”
It says SAIT was awarded $100,000 from Innovates Alberta to complete the design work.
“The defendant, despite having had three years to design a production version of the invention, has completely misdesigned the invention or designed it so that it will not work on golf courses as originally intended.”
The claim states that although the device would run on solar energy, SAIT returned with a version that operated on a fixed power source “which the plaintiffs made very clear to the defendant that was not a practical solution to the design.”
SAIT failed to design a proper prototype “and as such it could not be built and installed on golf courses and served by golf courses in the manner designed and intended by the plaintiffs.”
The claim says At The Turn has lost $2 million in revenue from leasing and advertising opportunities over the past two years and it is estimated that it will take another three years to get the product up and running.
“As a result of the gross negligence, carelessness, ineptitude and lack of attention of the defendant and its personnel for this project, the plaintiff has suffered irreparable damage to its reputation with several dozen golf courses in Canada and the United States, as well as with the golf industry in in general,” it reads.
“By the time Plaintiff can bring his invention to market, Plaintiff believes they will have extreme difficulty persuading the same golf courses to have the invention installed.”
In addition to lost lease opportunities, At The Turn had negotiated with a large number of advertisers “in relation to agreeing to advertise their goods and services on the plaintiff’s unit.”
The claim estimates that $32 million in leasing and advertising revenues will be lost over the next five years.
A statement of defense challenging the unproven allegations has not been filed.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts