Technogym sues SportsArt charging patent infringement in the Pinnacle Trainer

Technogym has charged SportsArt with infringement of its new Crossover equipment debuting this week.

Technogym has sued SportsArt Fitness alleging patent infringement on a product the Italian company will introduce this week at the IHRSA trade show.

The company has charged SportsArt Fitness with infringement in SportsArt’s Pinnacle Trainer, which was shown for the first time a year ago. Technogym’s new lateral trainer, called the Crossover (photo - right), was described in the suit as using technology that “falls within the scope of one or more claims of the (patents).”

In the complaint, filed March 4, 2010, in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, Technogym stated it owned three patents -- one from 2004, another from 2006 and another from July 2009 -- all of which claim technology that has to do with “simulating skating movement.”

In response to a Technogym Facebook page posting on Feb. 25 that announced the debut on March 1 of what the company called a “lateral total body trainer,” a fan of Technogym stated the trainer looked like the Wave, which debuted in 2005. Technogym countered that the Crossover was different because it combined both lateral and total body training.

SportsArt Fitness’ Pinnacle Trainer (photo - below left) was first shown as a prototype at the IHRSA 2009 event in a see-through private room, and again openly at both the FIBO show in the spring and the Club Industry show in October. It is called an “alternative trainer” by the company that combines both upper-body movement and lower-body movement combining forward/backward motion and medial/lateral motion.

“We are flattered that Technogym is concerned by the Pinnacle Trainer and with good reason as it has been receiving phenomenal reviews,” Ken Carpenter, director of sales at SportsArt, told SNEWS®, who noted the piece had been in research and development for nearly a decade. “Our well-documented design and history on this project more than protects us.”

Technogym was not available for comment; most directors were apparently already at the IHRSA show and not answering voicemail or email.

According to insiders, representatives of Technogym had contacted SportsArt about the trainer in the last few weeks, and its lawyers recently visited SportsArt to view the Pinnacle Trainer upon invite. Both companies are in the Seattle area.

According to the filing, “As a direct and proximate cause of SportsArt’s infringement of the patents-in-suit, Technogym has been and will continue to be damaged in an amount yet to be determined.” Technogym stated in the filing it was seeking, among other things, judgment holding SportsArt liable, for award of “damages adequate to compensate…for the infringement,” for injunctive relief, and for an order that would direct SportsArt to destroy all “infringing product.”

SportsArt has 20 days to respond to the complaint. 

Click here to see the Technogym Crossover product and video on its Italian website. Click here to see SportsArt’s Pinnacle Trainer and video.

--Therese Iknoian