Fitness company Peloton Interactive is suing Chattanooga-based Echelon Fitness in federal court in Delaware, alleging patent and trade infringement, false advertising and unfair business practices.
The suit alleges that Echelon appropriated Peloton's intellectual property and flooded the market with cheap, copycat products.
"With Peloton's hard-fought success, competitors, including defendant Echelon, have attempted to free ride off Peloton's innovative technology," the suit said.
However, Echelon President Lou Lentine said there's no legitimacy to the lawsuit.
"It's an example of big business trying to intimidate a strong but young competitor," he said. "We're redefining the marketplace."
Lentine said Echelon owns its own patents, has registered trademarks and pending patents.
"We've created a great fitness platform," he said. "We're reaching everyone, not just the elite and wealthier people."
New York-based Peloton has become the largest interactive fitness platform in the world with a community of over 1.4 million members, the suit said. It said the company has delivered more than 400,000 Peloton bikes and, in fiscal year 2019, its members completed over 58 million Peloton workouts.
The suit said Peloton employs more than 1,900 people across the country and earned more than $900 million in revenue in fiscal year 2019.
The lawsuit claims Echelon copied Peloton's federally registered trademark and the Peloton bike's distinctive trade dress, including but not limited to its logo, coloring, and font.
The suit alleges Echelon specifically infringes the Peloton patents by, among other things, displaying live and archived cycling class content to remote riders, tracking a remote rider's performance, and comparing that remote rider's performance against those of other remote riders.
In addition, Peloton's suit said Echelon unlawfully engaged in a false advertising campaign "in an effort to further undercut Peloton's business."
Echelon is a leading competitor to Peloton in the live, online fitness field and has already attracted about 100,000 users to its interactive app used to connect to one of the spin, yoga or other courses originating at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Lentine, a 47-year-old serial inventor and promoter from New Jersey who brought his Viatek Consumer Products to Chattanooga in 2011, created Echelon in 2017 to provide what he calls a more affordable stationary bike with the tracking and interactive features of Peloton and other higher-priced rivals.
After opening Echelon's studio in the Choo Choo last November, Lentine announced this year that his company has attracted a major equity boost from a Greenwich, Connecticut, investment firm that he hopes will help his Chattanooga firm grow into a global leader in the market for at-home spin classes with fitness tracking apps.
"It's exciting to get them to invest in us," Lentine said. "We're trying our best to do what's right and get the best team in place."
He said Echelon has hired more than 30 instructors in Chattanooga "who've made their names nationally in peoples' homes, People are not only joining but they're staying with us."
Peloton recently became a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The company ended its first day of trading down 11% from its IPO price.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.