Press Release
August 9, 2016

Holland & Knight Wins Key Appellate Victories for Polar Electro in Patent Infringement Cases

WASHINGTON (August 9, 2016) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday ruled in favor of Holland & Knight client Polar Electro Oy, affirming a lower court’s decision that an Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. patent on a "virtual personal trainer" is invalid as indefinite. Icon asserted the patent against Polar in the District of Utah.

Icon claimed that its patent covers an exercise system with both "in-band" and "out-of-band" communication. Holland & Knight argued on behalf of Polar that those two claim terms, along with the relationship between them, were indefinite and that the patent was therefore invalid. Both the District Court of Utah and the Federal Circuit agreed.

In affirming the Utah court’s decision, the Federal Circuit acknowledged that "Polar does not contest, and the district court did not question, that ‘in-band’ and ‘out-of-band’ are ‘separate and distinct.’ Rather Polar argues that the ambiguous nature of the distinction between the two claims renders them incapable of construction. We agree."

The Federal Circuit also applied the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Teva v. Sandoz decision, finding that the district court judge relied on extrinsic evidence in coming to his decision and these factual matters warrant deference on appeal.

In another significant Holland & Knight win for Polar at the Federal Circuit on July 20, the court overturned a Delaware District Court decision holding that the district court did not have personal jurisdiction over Suunto Oy, another Finnish company. The Federal Circuit agreed with Polar and ruled that Suunto’s sales in Delaware satisfied the U.S. Supreme Court’s stream of commerce personal jurisdiction tests. The Federal Circuit’s decision will allow Polar to pursue its patent infringement claims against its competitor in Delaware.

Holland & Knight Partner John Moran and Associate Anthony Fuga represented Polar. The cases are Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. v. Polar Electro Oy, Polar Electro Inc. (District of Utah) and Polar Electro Oy v. Suunto Oy, Amer Sports Winter & Outdoor, and Firstbeat Technologies Oy (District of Delaware).

Polar is a manufacturer of sports training computers, particularly known for developing the world’s first wireless heart rate monitor. It is based in Kempele, Finland.

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