U.S. trade regulators said on Friday they will investigate wearable monitoring devices, including those made by Fitbit and Garmin, following allegations of patent violations by rival Koninklijke Philips and its North America unit. Reuters reports: The U.S. International Trade Commission, in a statement, said the probe would also look at devices by made by California-based Ingram Micro as well as China-based Maintek Computer and Inventec Appliances. Netherlands-based Philips and Philips North America LLC, in their complaint, are calling for tariffs or an import ban and allege the other companies have infringed on Philips’ patents or otherwise misappropriated its intellectual property. Although the USITC agreed to launch an investigation, it said it “has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case” and would make its determination “at the earliest practicable time.” “We believe these claims are without merit and a result of Philips’ failure to succeed in the wearables market,” Fitbit said in a statement.
In a statement to The Verge, Philips said that the company had attempted to negotiate licensing agreements with Fitbit and Garmin for three years, but talks ultimately broke down. “Philips expects third parties to respect Philips’ intellectual property in the same way as Philips respects the intellectual property rights of third parties,” a spokesperson said.
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