Zwift and Wahoo have today issued a joint statement announcing an agreement to settle the ongoing smart trainer patent dispute between the pair.
It relates to the multiple patent infringement lawsuits filed by Wahoo in October 2022 against Zwift for its ‘Zwift Hub‘ smart trainer. Wahoo claimed at the time it was “identical, in all material respects” to its own Kickr Core trainer, allowing the Zwift to “reap the benefit of Wahoo’s innovations, but without investing the time and money necessary to create Wahoo’s innovations.”
But it was revealed earlier this week that the court case had been settled. According to Bicycle Retailer, both parties asked the court to dismiss the case, with each side agreeing to pay its own legal fees.
At first there was little clarity surrounding how the agreement was made, but the brands have today issued a joint statement to explain the circumstances behind the decision.
“Zwift and Wahoo Fitness today confirm the amicable settlement of all pending litigation,” the statement began. “The agreement will see both parties embark on a renewed approach to collaboration, with a view to growing the indoor fitness category and delivering continual, ongoing improvements to customers – through increased innovation, ease of use and better value.”
Zwift is primarily a software company, and the Zwift app is among the most subscribed-to indoor cycling platforms in the world with “roughly one million” subscribers in February 2023 according to a report from DC Rainmaker.
You cannot use Zwift without a turbo trainer (treadmills aside), so the Zwift Hub trainer was a way for Zwift to own the whole purchase journey for its users, rather than relying on third party companies like Wahoo to provide a product that enabled the use of its app.
It was originally intended to be an in-house design, but amid pressure during the post-pandemic downturn in May 2022, it scrapped the project, laying off around 150 of its 700 staff. It then turned to an existing but lesser known manufacturer, JetBlack Cycling, and licensed the design of its Volt trainer, making a few tweaks before launching the product in September 2022.
It launched with an aggressive pricing strategy, significantly undercutting both JetBlack’s Volt and the similarly-specced Wahoo Kickr Core. Wahoo wasn’t happy, and on the day that the Hub officially went on sale in October, the patent infringement lawsuits were filed….