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Nike sues lululemon for patent infringement, lululemon remains undeterred

Nike sues lululemon for patent infringement, lululemon remains undeterred

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Nike has filed a lawsuit accusing lululemon of patent infringement over the latter's at-home fitness device MIRROR and its related mobile apps. According to Reuters, Nike accused lululemon of infringing six patents in its complaint, filed in the US District Court in Manhattan. It is seeking triple damages for lululemon's alleged infringement, and a variety of other remedies.

MIRROR is a wall-mounted smart-home gym that guides users through a variety of high-intensity cardio classes and other exercises. 

However, Nike claims that it had invented and filed a patent application on a device for determining a runner’s speed, distance traversed, elapsed time and calories expended in 1983, CNBC reported. The brand has also since launched a range of fitness apps such as Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club. 

According to CNBC, Nike also said that it had notified lululemon of the alleged infringement in November last year, and only proceeded to file a lawsuit after lululemon dismissed its claims. 

Multiple sources, including CNBC and Reuters, quoted lululemon calling the patents in question "overly broad and invalid". The exercise apparel brand added that it is confident in its position and looks forward to defending it in court.

Lululemon had acquired MIRROR for US$500 million in July last year as it wagered that more people were going to pivot to exercise at their homes, amidst the pandemic. Brynn Putnam, founder and CEO of MIRROR, later stepped down from her role in September last year. She will continue to support as advisor to MIRROR until July this year, CNBC reported. The brand recently appointed former Twitch CCO Michael Aragon to take on the role of CEO at MIRROR and lululemon Digital Fitness, effective 17 January. In his new role, Aragon will oversee the development and expansion MIRROR, and will report directly to lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald.

Lululemon was also embroiled in another lawsuit late last year. In November, Peloton filed a lawsuit claiming that lululemon's initial claims through a cease and desist letter on Peloton copying its designs had no merits - lululemon has counter-sued against Peloton as well. The dispute between these two companies started after Peloton launched its private-label apparel brand in September this year. The product launch came after the end of a five-year co-branding relationship between lululemon and Peloton which started 2016. According to Peloton's lawsuit, the termination of the Peloton-lululemon co-branding relationship was "amicable" and lululemon did not object in any way to Peloton’s termination decision, or Peloton’s offering of its own active wear apparel. However, Peloton later received a cease and desist letter from lululemon. 

According to lululemon's initial cease and desist letter, as well as the counter lawsuit, Peloton's strappy bra, high neck bra, cadent peak bra, cadent laser dot bra, and cadent laser dot leggings infringed its patents. The company also said that Peloton started to sell the "One Lux Tight", which was another imitation of a lululemon product as it copies the "the trade dress of lululemon’s 'Align pant', which is one of lululemon’s all-time best-selling products". Lululemon also said in the complaint that Peloton "intended to closely copy Lululemon's proprietary designs" and pass off the goods as Lululemon's high-quality products to "misappropriate the immense goodwill that Lululemon has spent enormous time, effort, and expense to cultivate". 

Lululemon also said that by selling copies of lululemon’s designs, including the "Peloton Imitations", through the same retail outlets that Peloton has used to sell co-branded lululemon products, Peloton has created a "false or misleading" description and representation of fact which is likely to cause confusion or affiliation to its products.

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