Wahoo says 'copycat' Zwift turbo trainer 'bad for cycling community'

Wahoo are suing Zwift and JetBlack for patent infringement in the US

Zwift Hub turbo trainer
(Image credit: Zwift)

Wahoo has said that it is suing Zwift and JetBlack for alleged patent infringement as allowing "copycat products... stagnates product innovation" and is "bad for the cycling community".

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Wahoo said that "the JetBlack Volt and the Zwift Hub clearly infringe on multiple Wahoo U.S. patent".

The American company said that it had taken the action now, despite the Volt being available for several years, because the launch of the Zwift Hub had brought the product to its attention.

Wahoo launched legal action against Zwift for alleged patent infringement in the smart trainers which are produced by both companies earlier this month.

Documents filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware on October 3 show that Wahoo Fitness LLC believes that three patents related to its smart trainers have been infringed upon by Zwift. These are:

US 10,933,290 B2 – “Bicycle Trainer”

US 11,090,542 B2 – “System and Method for Controlling a Bicycle Trainer” and

US 10,046,222 B2 – “System and Method for Controlling a Bicycle Trainer.”

Wahoo have also filed a lawsuit against JetBlack Cycling Pty Ltd, the manufacturing partner for the Zwift Hub Smart Trainer. The trainer was launched last month, an affordable, user-friendly direct-drive unit.

Despite the legal action, the statement from Wahoo was at pains to say that the company "values Zwift as a partner" and that "our goal is to continue to work together to serve our joint consumers and grow the indoor cycling business".

Wahoo have become one of the dominant companies producing indoor smart turbo trainers and accessories in recent year, while Zwift has risen to become the go-to indoor cycling platform for many. The pair of companies work together, but with Zwift's entry into the market with a smart trainer of their own, they have become competitors.

The full statement from Wahoo reads: "Wahoo has taken steps to protect its intellectual property (IP) by filing a complaint against Zwift and JetBlack for infringing on U.S. issued patents awarded to Wahoo’s indoor trainer product line. We took this action because the JetBlack Volt and the Zwift Hub clearly infringe on multiple Wahoo U.S. patents. 

"We chose to file these complaints now, in the United States under our U.S. IP laws after Zwift announced the launch of its Hub and such announcement brought to our attention that the JetBlack Volt had become available in the U.S. market. Allowing copycat products in the market, stagnates product innovation and pressures product quality, which is bad for the cycling community. 

"Wahoo encourages competition in the market as it drives innovation and fuels category growth, we simply want Zwift and JetBlack to follow the same rules and laws as the other competitors in the market.  This was not an easy decision for Wahoo, but we must protect our IP because it fuels our ability to deliver the most innovative and accurate experiences for cyclists. 

"Wahoo values Zwift as a partner and our goal is to continue to work together to serve our joint consumers and grow the indoor cycling business."

Wahoo is asking the court for jury trial and asking for a preliminary injunction against JetBlack and Zwift preventing them from selling its trainers in the U.S, they have until 24 October to respond.

JetBlack and Zwift have all been contacted for comment by Cycling Weekly.

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