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Apple, Nike sued over Nike+iPod Sport Kit

updated 11:50 pm EST, Sat February 3, 2007

Nike+iPod Kit lawsuit

Apple and Nike have been sued by a Colorado company accusing them of infringing a patent covering shoes that collect data on the wearer's activity in their Nike+iPod Sport Kit. File on Thursday by PhatRat Technology, the complaint was delivered to a Denver federal court, alleging that Apple and Nike are using its patented innovations without permission. PhatRat, which develops wireless devices that gauge a wearer's performance, asked for cash compensation and a court order blocking the use, Bloomberg reports. "PhatRat has been damaged by the infringing acts of Apple and Nike, and will continue to be damaged unless" they are stopped by the court, closely held PhatRat said. The $30 Nike+iPod Sport Kit, which debuted last July, features a sensor and receiver let the shoes communicate with an iPod over a radio frequency so runners can be apprised in realtime of their speed and pace. It is designed to work with special Nike shoes, but third-parties have developed adapters for most running shoes.

The report notes that PhatRat makes products such as the airRat, a device for measuring sports performance while snowboarding, skiing or riding a BMX bicycle, the company said on its Web site. The patent at issue is entitled "shoes employing monitoring devices, and associated methods."

"Nike is aware of the complaint and is reviewing the allegations alongside our own intellectual property rights," a spokesman for Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike t old Bloomberg.

PhatRat also sued Apple in the same court in October, claiming the computer company infringed four patents in their Nike+iPod Sports Kit and iPod products.

by MacNN Staff




  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Took a look at their website. Looks like they covered a lot of extreme sports with this technology, but running was not one of them. The only infringement, they seem to be claiming is the wireless communication between the device in the shoe and what ever device it's communicating with. From what I understand, the iTunes+iPod is more than just a workout recorder, it's designed to sync the music with your workout. I think this suit might be more of an issue for Nike than for Apple. From what I've read, it looks like Nike is making watches to record and monitor running information san iPod, which leads me to believe this particular part of the technology is Nikes. Anyways, this seems like one of those broad patents.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not novelty ...

    Well, without having read the patent...wireless collecting data is hardly a new and novel technology. Neither is digitally collecting human performance data. Wireless heart-rate monitors, wireless bike computers, etc. And having a sensor in a shoe to measure performance is not new, either (I forget the company who makes the sensor that attaches to your shoelaces).

    Doesn't patent law require that you active defend your patent against infringement? If they company has not sued all those other companies (Polar, Timex, etc) previously, then don't they lose the right to the patent? Of course, my first question would be whether there was infringement since they may simply be broadly interpreting their own patent in order to get a quick out-of-court settlement from Apple. It's lawsuits like these that would grind innovation to a halt if they were successful.

  1. charanis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Triax Elite

    And Nike can demonstrate doing this for several years with the Triax Elite SDM. The company that makes the sensor for that device and the one you asked about is Dynastream - I wish they had stayed with that technology by the way - I think Nike is done with it.

  1. Faceplant

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Amazing, ...

    ...There is a law student who is suing his school for his poor grades due to his inability to type quickly. He said he grades suffered, but it is nice to know yet another generation of clueless lawyers are coming who will in the future sue Apple because they once ate an apple and found half a worm, and the name Apple causes emotional disturbance.

  1. Beechlady

    Joined: Dec 1969


    jumping on the bandwagon

    Yet another company wanting to take advantage when you're up! SHEEEEEEEEZO

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: not novelty

    Doesn't patent law require that you active defend your patent against infringement? If they company has not sued all those other companies (Polar, Timex, etc) previously, then don't they lose the right to the patent?

    No, that's trademark law (see all the "Cisco doesn't own the iPhone name because...." commentary on this site). Patent law says you own a patent, and have exclusive rights to it for a period of time. You can do with it as you see fit. And if that's to let some people use it for free, but demand money from others, so be it (remember, Unisys decided only in the late 90s to enforce its patent on the compression scheme used in gif images, even though gif had been around for a really long time before then).

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hard To Believe ...

    ... that Apple doesn't do patent searches (with and without legal counsel) whenever they come up with something to be sure this sort of c*** isn't defensible when the scum eventually files suit. Then again, there's that $100M check they recently wrote out ...

  1. Evangelist

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Enuff is ENUFF!

    My God, isn't there a limit to the number of lawsuits that can be filed against one company!!! Rhetorical question, to be sure, but come on...enuff is enuff!

  1. fsauer1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Entirely Appropriate!

    Come on! This is exactly what the patent/court system is for, to resolve this disputes. It is entirely possible that this PATENT HOLDER is being infringed, albeit unintentionally. Suits like this happen all the time. It is only when it is Apple being sued that it gets all this intention.

  1. whackjob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what this is

    Is a bunch of companies that didn't conceive the ideas first for that specific use.

    As is usual with our beloved Apple Inc. they just show more creative and desireable uses that others can't think of.

    s**** the lawyers too.

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