Adidas Claims Under Armour Infringed Fitness Patents

Adidas AG has sued Under Armour Inc. in Delaware federal court, claiming that Under Armour infringed 10 Adidas patents for a “location aware” fitness training system.

The patents at issue were issued between 2007 and 2013 and include one for a “method of monitoring an individual’s performance during a physical activity with a portable performance monitoring device,” using GPS and “systems and methods for a portable electronic journal.”

Adidas products using the patented technology let users monitor their heart rates, calculate the number of calories they have burned, and collect other data via their smartphones.

The Adidas suit targets the Armour39 exercise monitoring system, which uses sensors, a chest strap, and mobile apps to track athletic performance metrics.

The suit also names as a defendant MapMyFitness Inc., a subsidiary Under Armour acquired in 2013.

MapMyFitness makes mobile apps including MapMyRide, MapMyRun, and MapMyHike, which all use GPS technology.

Adidas says that Under Armour’s director of innovation and research was previously a senior innovation engineering manager for Adidas.

Adidas is seeking damages for infringement based on a reasonable royalty rate, plus treble damages for willful infringement.

Adidas was itself sued in 2013 by a company called SportBrain, which alleged that Adidas violated its 2008 patent for “integrating personal data capturing functionality into a portable computing device and a wireless communication device.”

SportBrain also sued Nike for patent infringement involving the Nike FuelBand, a bracelet that measures calories burned by the wearer all during the day, and also brought suit against California-based FitBit Inc.

Because of the risk of expensive patent infringement litigation, companies seeking to produce new products often obtain “freedom to operate” (FTO) opinions from patent attorneys.

An FTO opinion can help a company determine whether a proposed new product can be marketed without infringing third party patent rights, on a country-by-country basis.

Stay up-to-date on the latest Intellectual Property Law news from Sheldon Mak & Anderson.

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