Philips Accuses Fitbit of Patent Violations in ITC Complaint

Philips North America and its wholly-owned subsidiary Koninklijke Philips N.V. filed a request for investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), in accordance with Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, regarding wearable monitoring devices (Certain Wearable Monitoring Devices, Systems, and Components Thereof 337-3423). Philips, founded in 1891, develops health-related technologies that are used for healthy living, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and home care and are employed for use by individuals and hospitals.

Philips’ US. Patent Nos. 7,845,228; 9,820,698; 9,717,464; and 9,961,186 cover “Activity Monitoring,” “Actigraphy Methods and Apparatuses,” “Continuous Transdermal Monitoring System and Method,” and “Alarm Reporting Fail Over Mechanism.” Philips’ complaint accuses Fitbit and Garmin products of violating these patents. Fitbit and Garmin are not yet parties to the case, but they are on a list of proposed respondents to the complaint along with Ingram Micro Inc., Maintek Computer Co., and Inventec Appliances, who are Chinese companies responsible for manufacturing Fitbit products and importing them into the United States.

Philips is seeking for the ITC to resolve the accused acts of patent violation in relation to the products’ importation, and their sale and use after importation.  They desire issuing a permanent limited exclusion order to prohibit the accused products from entering the United States, and a cease and desist order that will preclude Garmin and Fitbit form selling, distributing, importing, marketing, advertising, and performing other activities in the pursuit of selling the accused products.

The complaint asserts that Fitbit violated seven of their patent claims: three claims of the “Activity Monitoring” patent, two claims of the “Actigraphy Methods and Apparatuses,” and two claims of the “Continuous Transdermal Monitoring System and Method” patent.  It asserts that Garmin violated the same seven patent claims as Fitbit as well as four claims of the “Alarm Reporting Fail Over Mechanism” patent. The accused products are designed to monitor health and activity of the user including Fitbit’s Charge 3, Versa 2, Versa Lite Edition, Inspire, Inspire HR, Ionic, Ace 2 and Garmin’s Forerunner, Vivosport, Fenix, and 18 other Garmin products listed in the complaint. Philips states it licenses these patents to other manufacturers of similar products and views Fitbit and Garmin’s use of the patents without licenses as unfair to those other manufacturers as well as Philips.

Preceding the requests for limited exclusion and cease and desist orders, Philips asked the ITC to conduct an investigation into these accusations and schedule and conduct a hearing of the violations. They also ask for the ITC to impose a bond on Fitbit and Garmin during the 60-day Presidential review period during which the US President will be able to look at the ruling made by the ITC and decide whether to follow or reject their verdict. This decision can be appealed to the Federal Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Fitbit is currently being sued in many jurisdictions by its own investors because of an announcement that the company is being acquired by Google. Fitbit and Garmin were both sued by Cellspin in a patent infringement case that was under appeal until this past September, at which point Garmin brought the decision to the Supreme Court. Garmin’s counsel in the Cellspin case is Hogan Lovells and Lamkin IP Defense. Fitbit’s counsel was Venable and Goodwin Procter. Philips is being represented by Foley & Lardner in the ITC matter.