Peloton Files Trademark, Patent Lawsuit Against Competitor Echelon Fitness
Peloton Interactive Inc., the exercise equipment and media company are suing competitor Echelon Fitness LLC over trademark and patent infringement. Peloton is accusing its rival of saturating the market with “cheap, copycat products” and engaging in false advertising.
Echelon is also accused of lying about Peloton, stealing its customers, and free-riding off of its technology. Peloton is trying to turn a profit after its stock price dropped from $29/share to below $23 following its IPO. Competitors such as Echelon are not helping the company, so it has turned to aggressively asserting its intellectual property rights. At least one analyst believes that the company is still in a good position despite the competition.
Echelon has vowed to fight the lawsuit and defend itself against what it considers frivolous claims.
Peloton needs to grow its base and has pledged to do so as other competitors enter the field. The company relies primarily on its signature stationary bike and monthly subscribers to its interactive exercise classes. But in its lawsuit, the company says that Echelon has acted unfairly by stealing its customers and seeking investor funding.
There are other companies in the interactive exercise space. Icon Health and Fitness, which owns NordicTrack and ProForm, also sells internet-connected bikes and monthly subscriptions. Equinox, the parent company of SoulCycle, has announced plans for streaming cycling and treadmill classes.
The complaint, filed in Delaware, alleges that Echelon infringes two patents through its live and recorded cycling classes. The company is said to imitate Peloton through its Echelon Fit app, which compares its users’ ride data. As for trademark infringement, Peloton says Echelon has copied its logo, coloring, and font.
Peloton is also complaining about the advertisements Echelon uses to sell its bikes, calling them dishonest. It says the company misleads customers about the true cost of Echelon’s Smart Connect line of bicycles. In essence, Echelon is not including all total costs that, when added together, make it comparable in price to Peloton. The lawsuit also asserts that Echelon has lied to consumers about Peloton’s available exercises and a number of instructors.
Another rival, Flywheel Sports Inc., filed a challenge to one of Peloton’s patents with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The patent concerns a system to send recorded cycling classes to stationary bike users in their homes. Flywheel’s petition claims that the patent contains no new ideas.
The Flywheel petition is part of a long-standing series of contests against Peloton’s patents. The review board is considering the validity of three other Peloton patents. These concern patent infringement cases that Peloton is pursuing against Flywheel in federal court in Texas.
Trademarks and patents are not the only issues plaguing Peloton. The company also faces an extensive copyright infringement case concerning its use of music during live cycling broadcasts. Peloton uses music from popular artists during their streaming exercise classes. In March 2019, the National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA) sued Peloton for $150 million. After discovering over 1,000 more songs that Peloton allegedly infringed, NMPA requested to double the damages to $300 million.
Intellectual property cases are engulfing Peloton and its competitors as the live exercise field grow. In Peloton’s case, alleged infringements are allowing Echelon to compete through possibly unfair methods. On the other hand, other challenges contend that Peloton is abusing patents to gain an unfair market advantage. Trademark and copyright issues are also being raised with these companies.
Working To Protect Your Company’s Intellectual Property
As these examples show, protecting intellectual property is essential to securing a company’s bottom line. When your company’s brand and reputation are in jeopardy, you need serious and aggressive legal representation. Eddington & Worley is experienced in all forms of intellectual property, from copyrights and trademarks to patents and trade secrets. Let us know today how we can help you.