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Nevada company suing Wahoo for alleged patent infringement on KICKR trainer

Published June 30, 2015

RENO, Nev. (BRAIN) — A Nevada-based company is suing Wahoo Fitness, Giant Bicycle and Foundation Fitness, alleging that the Wahoo KICKR stationary trainer infringes on its patent. The company, Powerbahn, is seeking at least $1 million in lost royalties and penalties from the three companies.

Inventor Scott Radow developed and patented technology to simulate real-world resistance in a stationary trainer by electronically controlling resistance applied to a flywheel. Radow licensed the patent (U.S. Patent 7066865) to Powerbahn, a company that he manages. Powerbahn, in turn, licensed the technology to Nautilus, Inc. from 2005 to 2008.

In a complaint filed this month with the U.S. District Court in Nevada, Powerbahn claimed that a Nautilus executive, Pat Warner, took the technology with him when he left the company in 2010.

Warner later joined Foundation Fitness, LLC., a company that develops and markets gym exercise equipment including exercise bikes (Foundation is also the parent company of the power meter brand Stages Cycling, where Warner is a senior vice president).

"Warner, a former Nautilus executive, took this knowledge of the rights claimed in the ‘865 patent—and knowledge of the ‘865 patent itself—with him to Foundation. Foundation then proceeded to copy the ‘865 patent and sold or licensed  the copy to Wahoo," the suit alleges.

Warner did not respond to an email and voice mail from BRAIN seeking comment on the suit.

Wahoo Fitness introduced the KICKR trainer at Eurobike in 2012. According to the suit, the device is manufactured and imported for Wahoo by Giant Bicycle.

Powerbahn said it is owed "at least a 5 percent royalty on sales of the Kickr to be trebled based on Foundation's willful conduct. POWERbahn believes that 5,500 Kickr units were sold in 2014 at $1,099 per unit (and that additional sales were made in 2012 and 2013)."

The 5 percent figure is the same as Powerbahn's initial licensing agreement with Nautilus. Five percent of the 2014 sales that the suit names would amount to about $330,000, tripled it would be close to $1 million.

Wahoo's Mike Stashak told BRAIN last week that Wahoo is "aware of the complaint and are taking steps to address it."

Stashak, who is Wahoo's chief marketing officer, later added, "We are aware of the complaint. Obviously, Wahoo refutes these claims and denies stealing any IP. We've engaged with counsel and plan to vigorously defend ourselves."


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