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Riku Tanaka
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Legal
January 13 16:49

U.S. authorities launch investigation into Fitbit and Garmin regarding a patent infringement complaint by Philips

The complaint is regarding patents on technology used for monitoring activity in portable health-monitoring trackers, similar to smartwatches.
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The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched an official investigation against of wearable smart devices manufacturers Fitbit and Garmin, directly following a patent infringement complaint made by Philips. The federal authority has also confirmed that three other companies are also under investigation as a result of the complaint, including two Chinese-based companies. Reuters was the first to report on this matter with references to a statement made by the US regulatory authority.
According to another report by the Verge, the patent infringement complain mentions violations of four Philips patents that are for used in bioactivity tracking technology as well as alarm functions and others.
A Philips spokesman told the publication that the company had originally been in talks with Fitbit and Garmin over the course of three years to discuss licensing agreements, but the parties have failed to reach a satisfactory agreement. Despite the negotiations failing, the Netherlands-based tech firm expected the companies were going to respect Phillips’s intellectually property, just as they respect the property of others, the spokesman added.
Although Garmin refused to provide comment on the matter, Fitbit has said that the Philips patent claims are unfounded and the company plans to challenge the allegations in court.
"We believe these claims are without merit and a result of Philips’s failure to succeed in the wearables market,” a Fitbit spokesperson said.