Peloton vs. Lululemon, explained

Peloton and Lululemon are volleying lawsuits at each other over fitness apparel.

Two of the hottest fitness companies around are suing each other over strappy sports bras and leggings. Why?

The backstory

At-home fitness company Peloton has long offered branded activewear through partnerships with companies including Nike and Fila.

Its deal with athleisure pioneer Lululemon began in 2016, per Retail Dive. Peloton bought Lululemon products wholesale, had a printer slap on Peloton branding, then sold the clothes to its dedicated fanbase.

According to Peloton’s claim, this process took ~1 year, which Peloton deemed “burdensome.” So, when its deal with Lululemon ended in September, Peloton launched its own line.

Lululemon sent a cease-and-desist letter and filed a lawsuit this week.

The ‘trade dress’ beef

Lululemon claims 4 bras and 1 pair of leggings are in violation of its patents, while another pair violates its trade dress.

Peloton, which sued back, argues that:

1. They’re not that similar.
2. Lululemon’s patents aren’t distinct enough to be valid. Some brands, including Sweaty Betty, have similar designs that predate Lululemon’s patents.

BTW, what’s “trade dress?” A design or shape element that would identify a product’s maker. As an example, The Fashion Law uses the design of the Hermès Birkin bag.

Lululemon claims Peloton’s One Luxe Tight (a Nike collab) violates its Align pant’s trade dress, but would have to show that the average consumer would be confused by the 2 products.

That could be tricky because they basically look like any other leggings — except for their logos, which are placed in different spots.

The crossover

The lawsuits come at a time when the 2 companies aren’t staying in their lanes.

Peloton’s hawking clothes and Lululemon bought fitness tech company Mirror for $500m in 2020. Like Peloton, Mirror offers live and pre-recorded at-home workouts.

But what we want to know is, do people without Pelotons even buy Peloton-branded workout gear? And if so, is it… to make people think they have a Corvette Peloton?

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