Athletic Performance Heavyweights on Verge of Patent Battle

Comi Sharif, MJLST Staff

Last week, athletic apparel giant Adidas filed a complaint accusing Under Armour of patent infringement. The complaint identifies ten Adidas-held patents that are used in mobile applications to collect and share workout-related data. The patents currently implemented in Adidas’s “miCoach” product line are allegedly being put to similar use in Under Armour’s “Armour39” products. The technology allows users to monitor their workout progress, and record and share statistics such as calories burned, heart rate intervals and distances traveled.

Both companies are major players in the fast-growing wearable technology fitness market. Adding fuel to the rivalry is the fact that Under Armour’s director of product and innovation previously worked as a senior innovation engineer at Adidas for over a decade. In addition, Under Armour recently announced a sponsorship deal with the University of Notre Dame, which ended a run for the school as one of Adidas’s biggest partners.

Though this dispute is only just getting underway, the results will be an important indicator for future events. If Adidas can succeed in preventing Under Armour and others from using the identified patents in its products, Adidas could put itself in a strong market position moving forward, while Under Armour would be relegated back to the drawing board. As fitness and mobile interconnectivity continue to trend worldwide, the intensity of the competition to gain market share is sure to increase as well. Holding and protecting patents could be the key that separates the winners and the losers in this race to the top. Stay tuned.