Before I dive into today’s update, I wanted to first thank all of you who have been patiently waiting, or asking questions or telling us your stories. There are progress reports to come for you, but today we’re sharing breaking news. We last shared with you some of the buzz about Basis at CES. That excitement was apparently not lost on other players in the industry. Shortly after CES, a company called BodyMedia announced that they intended to sue Basis.
And, then… you heard nothing. Neither did we. After we read their press release (which is how we heard), months went by and no suit was served. That seemed odd, to say the least, and we began to wonder if it was all just a publicity maneuver. In fact, the case was within days of being dismissed outright for lack of action when we finally did officially get served this week. Today, we filed our response.
For those of you unfamiliar with BodyMedia, they make an armband sensor device for weight loss. Their suit claims we are infringing on their intellectual property, which is to say they think we are using ideas that they invented and own exclusively. Of course, we believe in the value of legitimate intellectual property. But, in this case, we believe their claims are baseless. Here’s why.
To begin, since we have not launched, they have no firsthand knowledge of our product upon which to base their assumptions. What’s more, our product has continually evolved as we worked through development, testing and feedback. Beyond that, there are stacks of evidence that the ideas BodyMedia is claiming as their own existed well beforehand in other products and in other patents. Legally, this “prior art” calls into question the validity of their patents in the first place. The court will now get to take a good look at that, which stands to benefit the whole emerging category of devices and services for health.
And, that brings us to what I feel is the larger point here. The mission of companies like ours is to help people live healthier lives. Whether you read research studies or the daily news, it’s clear that our health system and our collective quality of life badly need that help. It is one of the great issues of our day. This new category of smart, connected health tools is only now starting to reach beyond fitness and data enthusiasts to touch the lives of millions of everyday people trying to make improvements. Undermining each other and suffocating better ideas works against that greater good.
Unfortunately, rather than serve the cause or simply compete on the merits of their product, BodyMedia appears focused on hindering our launch. If protecting their business interests is BodyMedia’s primary concern, I would comfort them that the need is plenty broad enough – the market is certainly big enough – that meaningful products can coexist and thrive. But, they have not approached us with concerns so that we could put their minds to rest. They have not tried to validate their assumptions with us. Instead, they have resorted to this time-consuming (and expensive) distraction.
But, it will not prevent our launch. We have come too far to be bullied from our path. We have the support of the facts as well as investors and you, our future customers. We have the resources to persevere. We cannot allow advancements in health to be so easily choked.
In the meantime, we’ll focus our energies on our product and user experience. We’ll share more of our progress and latest insights with you next time.