TuffStuff Fitness International Inc. secured another victory before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in its long-running patent dispute with competitor Hoist Fitness Systems, Inc.
On December 7, the Federal Circuit denied Hoist’s motion to rehear the case en banc, effectively ending the litigation and affirming the Court’s earlier claim construction ruling and final judgment of non-infringement.
Hoist filed the lawsuit against TuffStuff in April 2017, asserting infringement of six patents against nine exercise machines. In September 2019, just hours before the trial was to begin, the parties stipulated to entry of a judgment of noninfringement in favor of TuffStuff. Hoist appealed arguing that the District Court erred in its claim construction of the six asserted patents. In a unanimous opinion delivered in October, the Federal Circuit Court affirmed the lower court’s judgment, writing that “[w]e find no error in the District Court’s claim construction.”
The lawsuit concerned TuffStuff’s line of patented Selectorized Bio-Arc exercise machines. Hoist repeatedly sought to remove the Bio-Arc exercise machines from the U.S. market through litigation in the U.S. District Court and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). TuffStuff was temporarily prohibited from importing and selling Bio-Arc exercise machines in the United States per a consent order it agreed to in the parallel ITC proceeding (TuffStuff did not acknowledge any wrongdoing, infringement or otherwise. The consent order was taken to preserve costs and to focus efforts on the District Court litigation). The consent order stated that the prohibitions continued until the underlying patent dispute came to a final conclusion in favor of TuffStuff. In view of the December 7 Federal Circuit Order denying Hoist’s motion to rehear the case en banc, Hoist has expressly admitted that the consent order is now null and void. Therefore, TuffStuff may resume selling the Selectorized Bio-Arc machines in the United States.
“We look forward to reentering the U.S. marketplace with Bio-Arc equipment,” said TuffStuff’s recently-retired President and CEO, Cammie L. Grider. Newly appointed Co-CEOs Eric Grider and Jeffery Waddell added, “This whole ordeal has been frustrating as we were certain from the outset that our technology was proprietary and did not infringe any competitor technology. It was very satisfying for the court to state that in such unequivocal terms.”
Photo courtesy TuffStuff Fitness