NEW YORK, United States — At-home cycling phenomenon Peloton is adding to its speight of recent lawsuits with a new claim against athleisure powerhouse Lululemon.
The move comes after Lululemon threatened legal action against Peloton earlier this month, arguing that the connected fitness brand’s new apparel line — specifically its strappy bra, high neck bra, cadent peak bra, cadent laser dot bra and cadent laser dot leggings — infringed on its patent designs and utilised trade secrets.
It has threatened legal action if Peloton doesn’t stop selling the products in question.
Peloton has since fired back arguing that its apparel is easily distinguishable from Lululemon’s designs. And has moved to protect its athleisure collection from a trademark suit by the Canadian company, which it says lacks any merit.
“On top of the numerous clear and obvious differences in design, Peloton and Lululemon’s brands and logos are also distinctive and well-recognised, making confusion between products a virtual impossibility,” said Peloton in the lawsuit.
“Even a quick comparison of the Lululemon patented designs with the allegedly infringing Peloton products reveals numerous clear and obvious differences that allow the products to be easily distinguished,” the company added.
The feud comes less than a month after Peloton announced it was suing rivals Echelon and iFit over claims both brands have infringed patents relating to its products and features.
At the time, Peloton argued that both companies were “profiting immensely from this infringement” and gaining “free rides” from its innovative technology.
In court documents filed by Peloton, the brand claimed Echelon’s bikes, treadmills and rowing machines infringe a patent associated with its leaderboard function which enables users to compare their performance during live classes.
In its case against iFit, Peloton noted how the company’s bikes, treadmills and ellipticals infringe four patents relating to the same leaderboard function, as well as the use of technology that automatically adjusts aspects of a user’s workout speeds based on performance.
Now it has another battle on its hands with Lululemon doubling down on its claims in a statement last week, which read:
“We will defend our proprietary rights, to protect the integrity of our brand, and to safeguard our intellectual property.”
The legal woes come as another blow for Peloton, which has been hit with a string of controversies over the past 12 months including a sharp slow down in sales and criticism over the safety of some of its products.
Having previously worked with Lululemon on co-branded apparel — a partnership that Peloton says ended amicably and that Lululemon didn’t have any objections to Peloton launching its own apparel — the disruptive startup only launched its in-house apparel line in September.
If Lululemon is successful in its claims, Peloton could find itself taking a huge hit that would severely damage its bid to leverage the ongoing athleisure boom and generate new streams of revenue.
The company has been quite public about its decision to grow apparel into a core pillar of the business, with CEO John Foley’s recently revealing that its “apparel sales are growing faster than the rest of the business”.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference earlier this year, Foley also commented: “I think we’re going to surprise people in apparel. We’re building the best quality apparel in the world.”
However, if Lululemon has anything to do with it, the brand’s foray into the high-growth category might not be as smooth sailing as it had hoped.