Fitness and gadget companies match patent lawsuits with celebrity endorsers

Deleting short sellers, recruiting influential gym celebrities: Many companies adopt new business strategies that appear to be big money-makers

Lululemon Yoga and Tracker Fitness, a fitness tracking app, have accused Peloton Audio Inc of infringement of several patents with their high-tech audio bikes.

The Lululemon and Tracker logos appear on signs and products and on a physical bike as Peloton promotes itself as a way to “travel the world like a champion” with its “mind-blowing fitness classes”.

In a complaint filed in the US district court in Alexandria, Virginia, Lululemon and Tracker allege their “Insta-Fit” and “Ubiquitous” products do not infringe the patents held by Mountain View, California-based Peloton and its President and CEO, Marc Bell.

Peloton plans an initial public offering. (It raised more than $150m in December.)

The bikes are connected to tablets and headphones and allow users to listen to their favourite workout routines, get personalised feedback, and send and receive messages.

Lululemon, based in Vancouver, Canada, said in its complaint that Bell has met with various influential fitness celebrities to promote Peloton on social media and in appearances and interviews.

As a result, Peloton’s bikes are “co-opted by influencers and customers who purchase the infringing products and thereby influence consumers” to purchase Peloton’s equipment, according to the complaint.

Lululemon is not stopping Peloton’s bicycles from getting a workout in the gym, the complaint says. “When used in a non-related fitness setting, the P4B and P3D bicycles cannot, and do not, infringe either patent.”

Lululemon also alleges that Peloton’s bikes do not meet its certification standards for its “Insta-Fit” or “Ubiquitous” products, which are designed to provide reliable workout results without causing injury to the user or equipment.

A spokeswoman for Peloton declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting Peloton from infringing the patents and compensatory damages.

Leave a Comment