Peloton Interactive Inc. sued Lululemon Athletica Inc. in a preemptive move to protect the workout-bike maker’s new athletic-wear line from a trademark suit by its former co-branding partner.
Lululemon, a Vancouver-based maker of fitness clothing, claimed in a Nov. 11 cease and desist letter that five Peloton products infringe its apparel design patents. Peloton then sued in Manhattan federal court Wednesday — just two days before Black Friday’s start of the holiday shopping season.
New York-based Peloton said it has been selling apparel since 2014, and began its own clothing line in September after an “amicable” termination of its co-branding relationship with Lululemon. In its letter, Lululemon threatened to sue over infringement of its trademarks and trade dress — the distinctive visual appearance of its products — and theft of trade secrets.
“Lululemon’s allegations lack any merit,” Peloton said in the complaint. “Even a quick comparison of the Lululemon patented designs with the allegedly infringing Peloton products reveals numerous clear and obvious differences that allow the products to be easily distinguished.”
In a statement Friday, Lululemon spokeswoman Erin Hankinson said the company has “requested that Peloton cease and desist selling a number of styles of apparel which we believe infringe upon Lululemon’s design patents. We will defend our proprietary rights, to protect the integrity of our brand, and to safeguard our intellectual property.”
The Peloton products targeted in the dispute are its Strappy Bra, Cadent Laser Dot Legging, Cadent Laser Dot Bra, High Neck Bra, Cadent Peak Bra and One Lux Tight.
Peloton is hoping to add to its sales for athletic hardware and high-end interactive fitness classes. The company has filed its own patent lawsuits against rivals Echelon and iFit in a bid to limit the ability of rivals to offer fitness classes similar to its own.
The case is: Peloton Interactive Inc. v. Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc., 21-cv-10071, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
By Bob Van Voris