Peloton has been using its chest of patents to keep competitors from encroaching on its market share in recent months. After it put Flywheel out of business (and offered its customers a free trade-in), Peloton has turned its attention to Echelon. Echelon, who is headquartered in my hometown of Chattanooga, TN offers a similar product to Peloton’s bike with ditching the built-in screen in favor of an iPad. I reviewed it earlier this year over on 9to5Mac.
The iPad connects to the devices over a Lightning to USB A cable (to charge) and Bluetooth to interact with the bike. In the studio, Echelon uses the Guided Access API to prevent users from launch any of the other apps, but this obviously wouldn’t matter in your home. In taking the class, I never felt like I was using an iPad as I was zoned into my performance and trying to stay at the top of the leaderboard.
Today, Bloomberg has reported that Echelon is fighting back on the patent claims.
Echelon Fitness Multimedia LLC, which Peloton has accused of offering a cheap knockoff of its fitness bikes, has launched an all-out battle to undermine Peloton’s claims that its service is unique. It’s filed petitions in the past week claiming two Peloton patents at the heart of a lawsuit against Echelon are just rehashed ideas from other people.
Bloomberg Intelligence’s Tamlin Bason called Peloton’s claims an “uphill battle” and said the their patent portfolio is small and can be challenges.
It remains to be seen how this case will play out in the coming months. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board, considered an easier path for patent challengers than going to court, will hear Echelon’s arguments and any response made from the Peloton side. Bloomberg reports that the board will announce in three months if it will start a review of Peloton’s patents. If it does start a review, a final decision would issue a year after that.
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