It was only a matter of time before the increasing popularity of electronic swing training devices resulted in patent litigation. There is no doubt that these are fun little gadgets, but whether they will help you improve your game is still up for debate. You can learn more many of the swing trainers on the market over at MyGolfSpy (see the 2013 Swing Trainer Buyer’s Guide and the Swing Trainer Shoot Out).
The first swing trainer patent infringement Complaint was filed a few weeks ago by iTrainer Golf Ltd., accusing Swingbyte, Inc. of patent infringement (iTrainer Golf Ltd. v. Swingbyte, Inc. (NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO WESTERN DIVISION)). The Complaint may be viewed HERE.
The dispute concerns two patents, namely USPN’s 7021140 and 7024351, that are assigned to the Regents of the University of Michigan, and licensed to iTrainer Golf. Interestingly the patents seem to have been primarily directed to fly fishing (see the figures from one of the patents below), but the applicant was smart enough to recognize the applicability to many other activities, including golf.
The Complaint alleges in part:
6. iTrainer Golf Ltd. is the exclusive licensee for any use in the field of golf of U.S. Patent No. 7,021,140 B2 and U.S. Patent No. 7,024,351 B2 (collectively the “iTrainer Golf Ltd. patents”), which Swingbyte is infringing and/or inducing others to infringe by making, using, offering to sell, and/or selling in the United States, or importing into the United States, products that embody patented inventions described and claimed in the iTrainer Golf Ltd. patents.
7. The iTrainer Golf Ltd. patents have been duly and legally issued and assigned to the Regents of the University of Michigan.
8. The iTrainer Golf Ltd. patents were exclusively licensed to iTrainer Golf Ltd. for use in the field of golf by the Regents of the University of Michigan including the rights to sublicense and to prosecute any infringement of the patents.
9. Swingbyte has profited through infringement of the iTrainer Golf Ltd. patents. As a result of Swingbyte’s unlawful infringement of the iTrainer Golf Ltd. patents, iTrainer Golf Ltd. has suffered and will continue to suffer damage. iTrainer Golf Ltd. is entitled to recover from Swingbyte damages suffered by iTrainer Golf Ltd. as a result of Swingbyte’s unlawful acts.
10. Upon information and belief, Swingbyte’s infringement of one or more of the iTrainer Golf Ltd. patents is willful and deliberate, entitling iTrainer Golf Ltd. to enhanced damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs.
11. Upon information and belief, Swingbyte intends to continue its unlawful and infringing activity and iTrainer Golf Ltd. suffers and will continue to suffer irreparable harm – for which there is no adequate remedy at law – from such unlawful infringing activity unless Swingbyte is enjoined by this Court.
Several of the non-fishing specific independent claims from the ‘140 patent are listed below.
Wow, pretty broad claims; some may say ridiculously broad.
The players in this market better think about how they are going to deal with these patents before being served a Complaint!
PS – No worries Swingbyte, my feelings aren’t hurt that you were sued in Ohio and didn’t even give me a call! Good luck.