Peloton Claims ‘Boring’ NordicTrack Maker Copies Fitness Program

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(Bloomberg) -- Peloton Interactive Inc. filed a lawsuit claiming NordicTrack maker Icon Health & Fitness Inc. copied its interactive fitness programs and lied in advertising to undercut a more popular rival.

Icon Health has “attempted to free ride off Peloton’s innovative technology” by integrating patented features that make archived classes seem “live” to users and a way to let two people in different locations access the archived class and compete against each other in real time, Peloton claims.

Peloton shares have reached record highs this year as people stuck at home during the pandemic look for ways to stay in shape. Even before going public last year, the company said, there had been a surge in copycats that want to mimic the experience of “live” classes on demand.

In February, Peloton settled a patent-infringement suit it had filed against another rival, Flywheel, over similar technology.

“Consumers were tired of the same boring, at-home fitness equipment that had languished in basements for decades -- like the Icon products -- and instead wanted the revolutionary new ‘connected’ community fitness experience that Peloton offered through its patented technology,” Peloton said in the complaint filed Friday in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Officials with Logan, Utah-based Icon couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Icon Health’s more traditional fitness equipment like stationary bikes and treadmills began offering iFit, which gave the ability to access pre-recorded exercise classes , in 2015, but it wasn’t successful, according to the complaint. In September, the same month as Peloton’s initial public offering, Icon began offering “the iFit leaderboard,” which was “nothing more than the Peloton leaderboard grafted onto an iFit interface.”

“Having discovered just how lucrative it was to mimic Peloton, Icon doubled down on its unlawful scheme,” Peloton said. “In May 2020, Icon set its sights on yet another Peloton innovation -- live classes with a real-time leaderboard -- and decided that it would copy this aspect of the Peloton experience, as well. Icon’s introduction of live classes and the leaderboard is calculated to perfect its theft of market share from Peloton.”

Peloton says Icon also defrauds consumers by using what’s known as “false reference pricing,” posting a price and then saying it’s a discount of the original price.

Peloton is seeking court orders to force Icon to eliminate the patented features from its products, and to stop the advertising, which it claims is both unfair and deceptive.

The case is Peloton Interactive Inc. v. Icon Health & Fitness Inc., 20-00662, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Wilmington).

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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