UPDATE: Fitbit has responded to this article with the following statement:
“Fitbit believes the suit brought by Immersion has no merit. Since its inception, Fitbit has amassed more than 450 issued patents and patent applications. As the pioneer and leading global wearables brand, Fitbit has developed and delivered innovative product offerings to empower its more than 50 million registered users to lead healthier, more active lives.”
End of Update
Fitbit is now being accused of infringing on patents owned by Immersion, who announced this week that it has now filed a lawsuit against Fitbit over the infringements. Immersion, who self-identifies as “the leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology” confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed in the US (in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California), in addition to a separate lawsuit that has now also been filed in China. In both instances, Immersion is seeking infringements against three separate patents.
In the announcement on the lawsuit, Immersion has name-dropped a number of Fitbit products in which Immersion claims infringements on its protected patents. The devices listed include the Fitbit Alta, Alta HR, Blaze, Charge, Charge 2, Charge HR, Flex, Flex 2, and the Fitbit Surge. With Immersion stating that the technologies in which these products infringe, include haptic feedback devices, systems and methods. Although not all products are said to infringe all patents. For instance, in the case of the US, Immersion alleges that the Fitbit Alta, Alta HR, Blaze, Charge, Charge 2, Charge HR, Flex, Flex 2, and Surge, specifically infringe on a “vibrotactile feedback” patent, while all of the same Fitbit devices (excluding the Flex and Flex 2) infringe on two other patents regarding “Haptic Feedback” and “Haptic Messages.” The Chinese counterpart lawsuit is largely in-keeping with the US one, with the exception that the patents accused of being infringed upon, were filed in China. With the underlying accusations of infringed technology being the same and centering around haptic feedback features.
Due to the nature of the alleged infringements manifesting in products that are currently available to buy, as part of the lawsuit, Immersion is seeking Fitbit not only stops selling the listed products, but also stops manufacturing them completely in both China and the US. That is, in addition to seeking damages in general. Although the company has not provided any firm details on the amount of damages it wants. According to the announcement, Immersion had previously try to settle this issue without the need of legal intervention, stating that “Fitbit rejected our numerous attempts to negotiate a reasonable license for Fitbit’s products.” A situation which has now led to this dual regional lawsuit being announced.