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Cybex Files Intellectual Property Lawsuit Against TuffStuff

Cybex International, Medway, MA, filed a lawsuit against TuffStuff Fitness Equipment, Chino, CA, in late December claiming that TuffStuff infringed on its intellectual property and reputation.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont on Dec. 21, 2011, as Cybex International Inc. v. TuffStuff Fitness Equipment Inc. It involves TuffStuff’s FTX functional trainer, which Cybex says infringes on two of its patents, both entitled “Exercise Apparatus with Selectively Variable Stabilization,” and on Cybex’s trademark in the name and trade dress for its FT-450 functional trainers.

According to the lawsuit, Cybex introduced in early 2009 a product that used the methods called for by the patents named in the suit, specifically, the FT-450. In particular, Cybex notes the stabilization pad technology used in the FT-450 is unique because it allows users to isolate specific muscle groups, which increases the efficiency of the workout. A Cybex video on YouTube touts the uniqueness of the stabilization pad that is integrated into the frame of the functional trainer.

A TuffStuff video on YouTube also touts the uniqueness of the core support pad that is integrated into the frame of TuffStuff’s FTX functional trainer.

As of the time of this posting, TuffStuff had not responded to requests for a comment. TuffStuff’s website page offering specifications and ordering information for its FTX functional trainer states that the equipment is not available, but it does not say why.

The Cybex filing states, “This FTX is confusingly similar in visual and structural appearance and design such that prospective purchasers can be misled into believing that the FTX originates from the same sources as the FT-450.”

The lawsuit later states, “Cybex has suffered and will continue to suffer immediate and ongoing irreparable harm and monetary damages as a result of TuffStuff’s willful patent infringement.”

According to the lawsuit, the FT-450 is Cybex’s largest single unit strength revenue generator and its fourth highest volume strength unit.

“Cybex invests a great deal of resources into developing leading-edge technologies that maintain high standards of quality,” Lisa Juris, vice president of marketing for Cybex, wrote in a statement to Club Industry. “This is important to our reputation and business. We will vigorously defend against infringement of intellectual property and reputation. As a pending case, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

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