Peloton filed a lawsuit against Flywheel Sports Inc. claiming patent infringement nearly a year ago. It is not uncommon for intellectual property cases to be lengthy. However, this case is far from over. In fact, Bloomberg reports that the fitness tech company just came across a snag that could hurt their case.
The original claim states Flywheel stole technology
For a while, it seemed that Peloton was ahead in the race against Flywheel. They initially filed the claim stating that the FLY Anywhere bike copied the same technology that Peloton’s popular stationary bike uses. The products are extremely similar, as they both:
- Utilize technology to track a rider’s progress
- Show a live cycling class
- Provide a competitive atmosphere by comparing performance
Peloton also claims that one of Flywheel’s investors approached their CEO as another investor to gather details about the technology Peloton used. They state that this was how Flywheel stole the information they needed to make the FLY Anywhere bike.
But Flywheel claims Peloton patented old technology
Flywheel’s new claims report that Peloton cannot bring a valid claim against them since their patents allegedly cover old ideas.
U.S. patent law does not cover the ideas that inspire technology, only the technology or invention itself.
However, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has agreed to review the case and Flywheel’s claims. If the board can determine that technology—and not simply ideas—similar to Peloton’s technology patents existed beforehand, then Peloton could be in danger of losing ground.
This is not Peloton’s first obstacle in the intellectual property world
Only a few months ago in March, Peloton faced a lawsuit for using popular music in their cycling videos which they did not have licenses to use. Some of the classes depended on music, but the company removed any classes using pop songs they did not have a license for.
Although the issue of copyright and licenses of songs does not influence the company’s technology patents, it does demonstrate that Peloton has a track record of intellectual property issues. If they did not obtain the proper licenses to use music, could it be possible that they did not obtain proper patents as well?
There is no way of telling how the lawsuit involving Flywheel will result yet. However, it is critical to note that this case—just as any intellectual property case—involves a significant amount of risk for both companies, regardless of the final ruling.