Google's Fitbit scores win in Philips patent lawsuit over fitness trackers

Fitbit Blaze watch is seen in front of a displayed Google logo in this illustration picture taken. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
  • Judge knocked out only active patent left in case
  • Fitbit previously defeated related case at U.S. trade tribunal

(Reuters) - The only active patent remaining in Philips North America LLC's infringement lawsuit against Google LLC's Fitbit LLC is invalid, a Boston federal judge said Thursday, spelling the end of the companies' dispute for now.

Philips had accused several Fitbit wearables of infringing its patent for "interactive exercise monitoring." But the invention cannot be patented because it covers an abstract idea, Chief U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor said.

Philips said Friday that it was aware of the ruling and declined to comment.

San Francisco-based Fitbit's attorneys and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The North American branch of Netherlands-based Koninklijke Philips NV alleged in 2019 that Fitbit's fitness trackers infringed four patents related to its wearable health-monitoring devices. Philips withdrew its allegations as to one of the patents, the court found another invalid, and a U.S. Patent Office tribunal canceled the third, in a decision that Philips has appealed.

Saylor granted Fitbit's request Thursday for a ruling that the case's lone remaining exercise-tracking patent was invalid. Saylor said the patent covered "nothing more than the collection, analysis, and presentation of information, which have been found — individually and collectively — to be abstract concepts."

The judge also rejected Fitbit's argument that the patent's alleged innovation of "offloading" data analysis functions from a user's phone to an outside server was an inventive, patent-eligible concept.

Fitbit, along with Garmin Ltd, defeated a related Philips patent case at the U.S. International Trade Commission last year.

The Boston case is Philips North America LLC v. Fitbit Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, No. 1:19-cv-11586.

For Philips: Eley Thompson and Lucas Silva of Foley & Lardner

For Fitbit: David Shaw of Desmarais

Read more:

Fitbit loses bid to escape Philips fitness-tracking patent claims, for now

U.S. to probe Fitbit, Garmin, other wearable devices after Philips complains

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com