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Wearable tech becomes subject of patent suits

Technology that is worn on a person's body has created a relatively new industry whose products are starting to become the subject of patent litigation. These products often come in the form of watches, glasses or clothes. For example, athletic company Adidas filed a lawsuit against Under Armour just last month for allegedly infringing on several patents related to an app called MapMyFitness, which is a fitness application that can be used through wearable technology. The complaint states that patents related to "performance monitoring apparatuses," "automated route generation" and "personal data collection" were infringed upon by Under Armour. Adidas claims that a research director at Under Armour had previously worked at Adidas and had direct knowledge of the company's patent portfolio.

In addition to patents, wearable technology is gaining other types of legal attention from courts, law enforcement and even users. A San Francisco company known as FitBit was recently forced to recall a wristband that tracked a user's activity after the piece of wearable tech caused skin irritation. Last year, a woman in California was given a citation for speeding while she was wearing Google Glass. The ticket is thought to be the very first citation issued for the use of Google Glass.

While many patent laws have been in place for years, new technology can still be subject to them. One attorney that helps represent large companies such as Toyota and Apple stated that fast-growing technology can still be affected by traditional patent laws that originally applied to things such as chemical compounds.

California is well-known to be a hub for entrepreneurs that specialize in cutting-edge technology. Any company that's developing wearable products or apps that monitor sleep patterns, calorie intake or heartbeats should consider becoming familiar with patent law. A qualified attorney could help prevent your company from facing patent litigation or bring a complaint against other companies that infringe upon your own patents.

Source: Washington Post, "Recalls, lawsuits, traffic tickets — wearable tech is starting to get attention from legal system" Catherine Ho, Mar. 02, 2014

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