Nike Says Lululemon’s Mirror Infringes Digital Patents

Nike Inc. sued Lululemon Athletica Inc. claiming its Mirror Home Gym and mobile app infringes its patents for digital home exercise equipment.

The Nike suit is the latest in the thriving home fitness industry, where companies are turning to the courts to protect their own products from competition while expanding into new lines of business. Lululemon, once solely a yogawear company, acquired startup Mirror for $500 million in 2020.

Nike lawsuit’s paints the Mirror as a novice in the market while “Nike has spent decades creating game-changing digital sport technologies” since the 1980s.

To prove its expertise, Nike pointed to several products it has developed in the field, including the Nike+ iPod system, introduced with Apple Inc. in 2006, and Nike+ ESP basketball and training products, which went on sale in 2012.

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Nike holds “a robust portfolio of patents directed to its digital sport innovations for use in or with fitness equipment and apps,” particularly ones that allow users to connect with other athletes on social media,” the sports shoe and athleticwear company said in a complaint filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court.

“The patents in question are overly broad and invalid,” Lululemon said in an emailed statement. “We are confident in our position and look forward to defending it in court.”

The patents at issue cover a memory system to determine how many repetitions a user should exercise based on their fitness level, ways to set up competitions between users, and ways to receive and record athletic activity data. Nike said that the patented features “drive athletes to continuously engage with a like-minded community of athletes dedicated to improving fitness and wellness.”

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Nike is seeking unspecified cash compensation for what it contends is intentional unauthorised use of the inventions, plus an order that would prevent Lululemon from using the patented features.

Nike said it sent a letter on Nov. 3 notifying Lululemon that it was infringing the patents. Lululemon responded last month, writing “Lululemon does not believe that Nike’s patents are relevant to the Mirror and Mirror app,” according to Nike.

By Bob Van Voris

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