Escape Fitness

The advantage of combining design and patent protection

Escape Fitness is a market leader in the fitness industry. It has established a strong reputation for product innovation and build quality. However, one of the keys to Escape Fitness’ success is the bold visual design of its products, which sets them apart from those of its competitors. UDL has worked with Escape Fitness to protect these designs across numerous jurisdictions and, with considerable success, to enforce these rights to ensure Escape's products remain easily identifiable to its customers.

Case Study

Case Type

Design rights infringement

Action

Immediate legal action

Outcome

Settlement and costs award

Issue:

Among Escape Fitness’ flagship products is the SBX range of dumbbells and barbells, which in addition to their unique visual design, are also the first dumbbells to be TUV® certified. As such, the SBX dumbbells and barbells are market leaders in terms of quality and safety. The innovative build design of the SBX range was patented by UDL. In addition, the appearance of the product is closely associated with its reputation for high quality and so the design of the SBX range was also protected through a series of design registrations.

Escape Fitness discovered a competitor selling a range of dumbbells and barbells that reproduced the unique appearance of the SBX range. Escape Fitness was concerned not only by the appropriation of its design, but also by the risk to its reputation, if the dumbbells had the same visual appearance without the same level of build quality and were being passed off as Escape's products. At the time it had not been established whether the dumbbells took advantage of the patented construction, but it was clear that they were almost identical in appearance to Escape Fitness’ SBX range.

Action:

Immediate legal action was initiated against the infringer on the basis of Escape Fitness’ UK and EU registered designs rights. It was subsequently identified that the same competitor had copied a further product in which Escape Fitness held design rights. This additional infringement was added to the proceedings, which further strengthened Escape Fitness’ position.

Outcome:

Given the strength of Escape Fitness’ rights, a settlement agreement was quickly reached between the parties. As part of the settlement, the infringing products were removed from sale, and Escape Fitness’ costs were met in full. The fact that the product was protected by a design registration, in addition to the patent, enabled immediate action to be taken and avoided the need to establish patent infringement.

For more information please contact Alan Jones daj@udl.co.uk.

029 2064 2150

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