Unraveling the Peloton Bike+ Lawsuit

Unraveling the Bike+ Lawsuit: Peloton Emerges Victorious

A lawsuit filed in 2021 has finally been decided – in Peloton’s favor!  Grab your popcorn and wade through the back-and-forth finger-pointing between Peloton and a company called “World Champ Tech, LLC”. 

In 2021, World Champ Tech, LLC filed a lawsuit against Peloton Interactive, Inc. in the Northern District of California based on trademark infringement, unfair competition, and “the making and dissemination of untrue and misleading statements”.  World Champ asked the court to order Peloton to stop infringing on its trademark, along with monetary damages, attorneys fees, and other restitution/damage fees. 

World Champ’s Claims

World Champ Tech is a California-based fitness technology company founded in 2012 by professional cyclist James Mattis and professional cyclist and Olympic windsurfer Ted Huang.  World Champ Tech claims it has used “BIKE+” as a trademark for its mobile fitness app since 2014.  The app allows users to record and analyze fitness data (ie. heart rate, speed, distance, time, etc.) and integrates with various devices including the Apple iPhone® and Apple Watch®. 

 World Champ claims that Peloton’s use of “Bike+”  for its stationary bike, which pairs with Apple products for workout metrics, infringes on World Champ’s trademark.  Basically, World Champ alleges that Peloton’s use of “Bike+” is “confusingly similar” to World Champ Tech’s use of that phrase and deceives or misleads the public to believe that the brands are affiliated or connected. 

Peloton’s Response

Peloton maintains that World Champ began to use the “BIKE+” designation in 2014 but did not use it for marketing purposes, has not updated its Bike+ app since September 2016, and thus abandoned the right it has to the BIKE+ mark between September 2016 and September 2020.  Peloton also claimed that World Champ Tech launched its BIKE+ app in early 2021 specifically to attempt to “wrongfully harass” Peloton.  Peloton also asked the court to require World Champ Tech to cancel its registration of the Bike+ mark. 

If you want to do your own sleuthing, check out World Champ’s 2022 announcement releasing its app.   

The Court’s Decision

 The court heard oral arguments from both sides in May 2023.  Both sides filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, asking the court to favor them.  The court finally made a decision, ruling in favor of Peloton (you can read the court’s opinion here), and thus dismissing the lawsuit. The court said that this is “the rare case” where the court could decide that the mark is descriptive, saying that “[n]o imagination is needed to understand from the ‘Bike+’ mark and its context in the marketplace that the plaintiff’s product is an app for enhancing biking.”   The court also said that the current version of World Champ’s mark did not achieve in-app sales, had declining subscriber numbers, was marketed only minimally, and had a key feature that might not be functional.  World Champ also did not do much marketing of its product, so there would be little confusion from a consumer regarding the two products (World Champ advertised on Facebook in 2019).

The Bottom Line

Basically, by the time Peloton launched the Bike+, World Champ’s app was “mostly dormant”, so confusion was possible but not probable.  

So take that, World Champ  – and we are happy we won’t all have to call our Bike+ by some other name.  

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