Peloton files a lawsuit hoping to void Lululemon’s infringement claims against it.
Apparel company Lululemon is facing a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court by exercise equipment marker Peloton. The suit comes at the heels of threats by the apparel company to sue Peloton over its new clothing line, which Lululemon has been trying to take off the market. The lawsuit was filed just over two months after Peloton launched the line following the end of a five-year co-branding relationship with Lululemon. By filing first, Peloton stated “Lululemon’s allegations that its Strappy Bra, High Neck Bra, Cadent Peak Bra, Cadent Laser Dot Bra and Cadent Laser Dot Leggings infringed six Lululemon design patents lack any merit.” It wishes to continue selling the apparel without having to worry about Lululemon’s threats.
Sales of Peloton’s exercise equipment sales soared at first during coronavirus pandemic as people were staying home more and discontinuing their gym memberships, so they were in need of at-home equipment. However, when the vaccine was released, many individuals renewed their gym memberships and Peloton’s sales slowed significantly. Its partnership with Lululemon allowed it to rely more on apparel than on equipment sales after the vaccine’s release.
The reportedly “amicable” sales boost was short-lived. In a November 11 memo, Lululemon’s attorney said the company “would sue Peloton unless it stopped selling its new apparel.” But Peloton replied that its products and Lululemon’s designs “are easy to tell apart, and Lululemon’s designs are too obvious to deserve patent protection. On top of the numerous clear and obvious differences in design, Peloton and Lululemon’s brands and logos are also distinctive and well-recognized, making confusion between products a virtual impossibility.”
The purpose of the latest action it to have the court state in writing that Peloton has not infringed on Lululemon’s patents and that the claims that the apparel company is making are not valid, thus allowing sales to continue.
“At Lululemon we are known for our product innovation and iconic design,” Lululemon said. “We will defend our proprietary rights, to protect the integrity of our brand, and to safeguard our intellectual property.”
Lululemon is no stranger to legal problems. Last year, the company faced a #MeToo-based suit claiming the former CEO, Laurent Potdevin, turned Lululemon’s management into a “hard-partying boys club” and “engaged in a pattern and practice of harassment and sexual favoritism, including by giving preferential treatment to his girlfriend and giving other male executives a pass for similar behavior.”
The company also faced a class action suit in in November 2020 alongside co-defendant Quantum Metric, Inc. (QM), which alleged the two companies worked together to illegally record shoppers’ online actions including “keystrokes, mouse clicks, and personally identifiable information.” According to that class action, filed in California, “Lululemon utilizes QM’s software to spy on and wiretap visitors to the apparel company’s website in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) and the California Constitution.”
QM is a marketing software service company that offers a product known as Session Replay. The suit indicates this “allows retailers to pull up any user who has visited a website and watch their journey as if the company was standing over their shoulder.” By using QM’s service, Lululemon was allegedly able to invade the privacy of online shoppers in order to better tailor its marketing services and boost sales.
Peloton my have filed first, but Lululemon will likely file a counterclaim. Its legal woes are still ongoing.