When it comes to wearable monitoring devices that track your fitness, Fitbit and Garmin are often considered the industry leaders. Yes, there are many smartwatches like the Apple Watch that provide more apps and features for smartphone integration, but when it comes to being a standalone GPS and fitness device, their unbeatable accuracy is amongst their best features.
Features though, that Philips claiming are actually violations of their patents, as a report from Reuters has revealed. Although Philips themselves have not found much success in the wearable market with their Philips Health Watch the company is claiming that certain features like motion tracking, alarm reporting and certain physiological monitors (and this one) that their big rivals use, are all based on their own patents and thereby they are owed a share of the profits.
According to a Philips spokesperson (via The Verge), the company has attempted to negotiate licensing agreements with Fitbit and Garmin for three years, but talks ultimately broke down. “Philips expects third parties to respect Philips’ intellectual property in the same way as Philips respects the intellectual property rights of third parties,” the spokesperson said.
Fitbit has reported that they feel these claims are without merit while Garmin has, declined to comment. The US International Trade Commission (USITC) is still investigating the claims and whether there is merit to further investigation on these matters, If there is, then there could be significant penalties in line for both Garmin and Fitbit, though at present it does appear that this may also be a case of sour grapes from Philips with their competitors simply coming up with similar systems that perform the same functions. I guess time will soon tell and it will be interesting to see what consequence there could be if both companies are found guilty in the highly competitive wearable space where penalties could affect profitability.
Last Updated: January 14, 2020