The International Trade Commission of the United States has opened investigations against leading wearable device makers Fitbit and Garmin following complaints from Philips about a potential patent violation. The investigation will also involve distributor Ingram Micro along with two Chinese manufacturers Inventec and Maintek. Philips has stated that both Fitbit and Garmin have infringed the usage of its technologies such as activity tracker, motion sensing, and alarm reporting.
Philips is stating that it was holding talks with the companies for negotiations but nothing materialised. The complaint was originally filed back in December. If found violating Philip’s patent claims, the company will be subject to tariffs or complete bans on devices. Philips launched itself late in the wearable arena and has failed to establish itself. It launched Health Watch in 2016, years after Fitbit and Garmin had already taken over the market. This prompted a spokesperson from Fitbit to state that Philips’ claims were “without merit”. Philips might as well consider this a chance for its powerful yet unpopular wearable device to make some inroads in the market. The company may opt to file an ITC complaint for a faster verdict.
Talking of Fitbit, the increased rumours of Google planning to buy the wearable device company became true as the two companies announced an all cash deal worth USD 2.1 billion. Fitbit will become a part of Google’s hardware team and all Fitbit wearables will run on the WearOSgoing forward.Fitbit’s market value cap of around USD 1.6 billion makes the deal look overpriced for Google. The deal is expected to be closed by the end of this year. An approval from Fitbit stakeholders is still pending post which an approval from regulators. The deal is expected to boost Google’s hardware catalogue.