Nike claims Lululemon Mirror infringes utility patents in new lawsuit

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“Nike has spent decades creating game-changing digital sports technologies,” the Beaverton, Oregon-based sportswear titan said in a new lawsuit, with those efforts resulting in “a strong patent portfolio. Which protect these innovations, at least some of which would be infringed by its rival Lululemon via its Mirror Home Gym and the associated mobile applications. According to the lawsuit it filed in federal court in New York on Wednesday, Nike claims the Lululemon mirror is based on technology that is protected by six of the utility patents it holds for an interactive sports equipment system, as well as for athletic performance. systems and methods for detecting and / or tracking, and monitoring physical condition using a mobile device, among others.

In its complaint, Nike claims that the technology at the heart of the $ 1,500 home exercise system – which Lululemon brought in-house when it acquired fitness startup Mirror in June 2020 for $ 500 million – “convenient[s] the claimed inventions of [its] patents claimed ”, namely, US Patents 8,620,413; 9,278,256; 9,259,615; 10,188,930; 10,232,220; and 10,923,225, all of which are utility patents (as opposed to design patents), and thus protect the invention of a novel process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter. and useful.

The Nike patents at issue here cover everything from “a watch or other type of portable electronic console that uses a number of different functions to improve its usability,” such as allowing a user “to connect the watch to one or the other. several remote electronic devices. devices ”, then“ display[ing] information relating to electronic devices connected “to an” interactive sports equipment system “, in relation to which” sports data relating to a single person or a group of persons is collected at a central location, and then displayed at a location desired distance so that the person (s) can review and critique their performance.

Another of the patents cited by Nike consist of “systems and methods for detecting and / or monitoring sports performance”, namely “components for measuring or detecting sports performance data and / or for storing and / or displaying the data. desired information associated with athletic performance. to the user (or others) “, which allow users” to create workouts, select and present multimedia content during sports performance, etc., for example, to help users be entertained and to stay motivated ”.

As part of its patent rights, Nike generally enjoys the ability to exclude third parties from the making, use or sale of an invention that uses claims in its patents without permission for the duration of those. patents, this is where Lululemon allegedly comes in. By Nike, through the Mirror device, Lululemon “manufactures, uses, offers for sale, sells and / or imports into the United States products which embody the claimed inventions” of its patents and, therefore, infringes the claims of claimed patents. .

Although it was put on formal notice by Nike via a letter of formal notice on November 3, 2021, Nike claims that Lululemon “continues to manufacture and sell The Mirror Home Gym and associated mobile applications without [its] authorization and in violation of [its] patents ”, prompting Nike to file a complaint.

According to the Swoosh, it “invests heavily in research, design and development; and these efforts are essential for [its] success ”and its“ competitive positioning ”, making the suit a nod to Nike’s ongoing quest to maintain its place at the top of the market as a whole, but also in the connected fitness space, as many consumers share more and more their time between training at the gym and at home. With consumers increasingly adopting a hybrid approach to fitness, lockdowns caused by COVID, corresponding gym closures and enduring variants have served to accelerate home and connected fitness, increasing competition for part of the market. that at least some industry estimates predict they will reach nearly $ 60 billion in value by 2027.

This adds another element to the already fierce market segment, a segment largely dominated by giants with sizable protection portfolios, large legal teams and budgets, and the desire to protect not only the often huge R&D that goes into technology. sporty, but their places in a market infiltrated by newcomers, such as Mirror, Peloton and co.

In a response to Nike’s letter late last year, Mirror disputed the infringement allegations made by Nike’s attorney and has since refused to back down from offering its lively home training system. A representative for Lululemon has since said that the “Nike patents in question are too broad and invalid”, and the company “is confident in our position and looks forward to defending it in court.”

Bringing six patent infringement claims, Nike seeks damages and an injunction to permanently ban Lululemon – who is currently embroiled in a legal feud with Peloton after accusing the exercise bike maker of infringing its design patent and his clothes protected by commercial clothes – to infringe his patents.

The case is Nike, Inc. v. Lululemon Athletica Inc., et al., 1: 22-cv-00082 (SDNY).


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