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Peloton takes Lululemon to court in patent dispute

Peloton has branched into selling clothing, while Lululemon has expanded into selling home workout equipment
Lululemon threatened to sue Peloton earlier this month | Chung Chow

Exercise-bike company Peloton has filed papers in U.S. District Court seeking confirmation that its line of active wear does not infringe on Lululemon patents, and that any claims Lululemon makes to the contrary are invalid.

The action follows a Lululemon lawyer, in a November 11 letter, saying that the Vancouver-based athleisure giant (Nasdaq:LULU) would sue Peloton (Nasdaq:PTON) unless it stopped selling several clothing items. Particularly at issue are some of Peloton's bra and legging products: Strappy Bra, High Neck Bra, Cadent Peak Bra, Cadent Laser Dot Bra and Cadent Laser Dot Leggings.

"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," Peloton said in its filing, Peloton Interactive Inc. versus Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-10071.

Peloton's shift to making athletic wear comes as the New York-based company tries to diversify revenue streams from its core product of technology-equipped exercise bikes and treadmills used in homes but capable of providing an interactive experience via screens on the equipment.

Lululemon has similarly diversified to compete with Peloton's home workout equipment by buying Mirror for US$500 million in mid-2020.

Mirror’s marquee product is a device that appears to be a standard mirror, unless it is turned on.

Users activate their Mirror to enjoy augmented reality. A fitness instructor could appear – wearing Lululemon clothing, and ready to guide the user through a workout. The Mirror could show videos that include Lululemon representatives, or community events.

“At Lululemon we are known for our product innovation and iconic design,” Lululemon said in a November 24 statement emailed to BIV. “We have requested that Peloton cease and desist selling a number of styles of apparel which we believe infringe upon lululemon’s design patents. We will defend our proprietary rights, to protect the integrity of our brand, and to safeguard our intellectual property.”

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