Peloton is widely recognized for its stationary exercise bikes. Instead of just hoping on a bike and pedaling away, the Peloton bike stood out because it offered a connection to an online community. Users could bike with peers and attend online classes. The exercise giant has expanded to offer classes for various forms of exercise, including running and strength training. In an additional move to widen its brand, Peloton has also added a line of athletic clothing.
Unfortunately for Peloton, another athletic clothing brand, Lululemon, believes Peloton’s recently released line of apparel is in violation of their patent. As a result, Lululemon sent Peloton a cease-and-desist letter, asking the company to stop infringing on their highly distinctive products which included leggings and bras. Lululemon also stated that if Peloton failed to honor the letter, they would take steps to defend their proprietary rights and safeguard their intellectual property.
Peloton countered by filing suit in federal court, noting that their product is clearly different and, to further differentiate the two lines, also notes that the two company’s brands and logos are each distinctly recognized making confusion within the market an “impossibility.” If successful, Peloton’s lawsuit could provide the company with the support it needs to continue operations without the hinderance of Lululemon’s accusations. Lululemon could counter with a request for a restraining order if they can establish that Peloton may be in violation of their IP.
The case provides an example of how allegations of patent infringement can progress — starting with a cease-and-desist letter and moving forward to litigation. As such, it is wise for those who believe their protections are under threat to review the process and determine the best course of action. For some, a cease-and-desist letter followed by a request for a temporary restraining order may be the right legal remedy, for others more aggressive action could be appropriate.