‘Beware imitations’ says supplier
As the 2008 season gets underway, two parks will be debuting new Star Flyer rides (pictured) by the Austrian manufacturer Funtime Handels, namely Allou Fun Park in Athens and Plopsa Telecoo in France.
However, the supplier is now warning other potential operators to be careful which version of the attraction they choose, after securing patents for the concept in both Europe and the US. Although the ride is remarkably simple – a combination of tower ride and chair/swings – most other manufacturers have been forced to make subtle changes like making the tower lift or rotate so as not to fall foul of Funtime’s patent.
The Austrian manufacturer flexed in muscle this winter when a Dutch-built ride called Around the World opened briefly in Bristol city centre, England. After chasing the attraction and its owners around Holland during the summer, “writs have been issued in London for proceedings in the English Courts against the Dutch companies Van der Beek and Wabucon,” confirms a Funtime spokesman. “The writs are for infringement of intellectual property rights of the Star Flyer ride.”
Around the World left Bristol soon after but is expected to appear on the Dutch fairground circuit this season, much to Funtime’s frustration as it appearance is similar to the Star Flyer even down to the shape of the tower. “Funtime has not granted any company or individual a license to manufacture the Star Flyer,” confirms the spokesman.
In the meantime the company has tendered to supply a vintage-themed version of the ride as part of the Prater improvements in Vienna, the amusement park where Funtime already showcases a number of its attractions. This season it will also unveil a new type of ride at Divo Ostrov park in St Petersburg, Russia. The giant rocket-themed attraction is based on an idea dreamt up by the park’s owner, Vladimir Podvalny.