Athletic apparel maker Adidas sued Under Armour in the US District Court in Delaware over the alleged infringement of 10 digital health-related patents. Adidas' lawsuit also included fitness tracking app maker MapMyFitness, which was acquired by Under Armour in November 2013 for $150 million.
Adidas patents cited in the lawsuit include ones for: a location-aware fitness training device that supports real-time interactive communication and automated route generation, systems and methods for presenting characteristics associated with a physical activity route, methods and computer program products for providing information about a user during a physical activity, and a mobile device that receives information from a server about a user's movement.
Under Armour's technology in question is the Armour39 system, which includes an Armour39 module that can be attached to a chest strap (sold together); a mobile app that tracks heart rate, calories, and intensity; and a display watch that Under Armour says is an alternative to the mobile app, but sold separately.
Adidas included MapMyFitness in the lawsuit because the company offers methods for detecting, evaluating, or analyzing movement of a body or determining performance information in its apps MapMyFitness, MapMyWalk, MapMyHike, MapMyRun, MapMyRide, and MapMyDogwalk, which also can connect to the MapMyFitness Heart Rate Monitor.
As part of its lawsuit, Adidas added that Under Armour was aware of the patents because a former Adidas employee, Mark Oleson, is now at Under Armour.
"Under Armour’s Director of Innovation and Research was a Senior Innovation Engineering Manager of adidas with direct knowledge adidas’ patent portfolio," Adidas wrote in the lawsuit. "Accordingly Under Armour, by and through its Director of Innovation and Research, has direct knowledge of Adidas’ patent portfolio, including the patents asserted in this Complaint."
The lawsuit is likely meant to protect Adidas' miCoach training system, which includes an activity tracker and a display watch that tracks heart rate and other biometric data.
The timing of the lawsuit is notable given recent friction between Adidas and Under Armour. In late January, Notre Dame ended its 17-year relationship with Adidas and signed a 10-year deal with Under Armour.
In 2012, MobiHealthNews reported on a slew of patent lawsuits that had made news within a short period of time including Robert Bosch Healthcare Systems' lawsuit against three makers of remote home health monitoring technology, which claimed the patents infringed on Bosch’s Health Buddy system and BodyMedia’s suit against Basis Science. The Bosch case ended when Bosch licensed its product to Televero Health, formerly Waldo Health. At the time, Bosch was one of the first companies in the space to license its product.
In the last update of the BodyMedia-Basis case, which is still pending, Basis responded to BodyMedia's lawsuit with a formal response and counterclaims and argued that the timing of the lawsuit was an attempt to hinder its product’s launch. The BodyMedia-Basis case next court date is set for October 2014.