After claiming victory in a four-year legal stoush with fitness franchise F45 (NYSE: FXLV), Melbourne-based Body Fit Training (BFT) has now raised concerns about trademark applications made by its competitor in a few key markets.
BFT co-founder Cameron Falloon has revealed that on the final day of Federal Court proceedings, F45 made trademark applications for the word "Bodyfit" in New Zealand, Canada and Singapore - three countries where BFT operates.
"BFT questions what legitimate interest can F45 have in trademarks similar to the words associated with one of its biggest competitors," Falloon says.
"Ultimately, in BFT’s opinion, it is F45’s franchisees and shareholders who are losing out through unnecessary litigation and tactics such as this.
"BFT welcomes the competitive relationship between the two brands, however, BFT with the full support of Xponential Fitness, will remain unintimidated by the litigious strategy adopted by F45 and continue to focus on their operations and franchisee support."
Representatives of F45 did not respond to requests for comment.
Earlier this year an Australian judge determined two patents claimed by Texas-based F45 relating to the remote configuration of fitness studios were invalid, using "generic computer technology" in a "kind of scheme that has historically never been regarded as patentable subject matter".
F45 had used these patents as grounds to allege BFT had copied various parts of its system, but New South Wales Federal Court Justice Nicholas dismissed the application and ordered F45 to pay BFT's legal costs.
In the decision, Justice Nicholas also claimed that even if F45's patents were valid, BFT would not be in breach of them.
Following the judgment, BFT said the orders did not set a precedent for an ongoing legal case that is before the courts in the US - due to be heard later this year - but may influence the result.
F45 has since appealed the court's decision, but Falloon says BFT is confident of its prospects on this appeal.
Falloon, a high performance trainer who has worked with AFL and soccer teams, founded BFT in 2017 alongside Richard Burnet, who was formerly an executive with Essendon and the GWS Giants. The group is also co-owned by Hamish McLachlan.
F45 was founded in Australia by Adam Gilchrist and Rob Deutsch, and was backed by Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg before becoming a listed entity on the NASDAQ in July 2021.
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