Wahoo sues Zwift


Patent Infringement: Wahoo Fitness LLC to sue Zwift Inc. and JetBlack


JetBlack Cycling makes a good indoor smart trainer called Volt which they sell under their own brand name. Zwift resells that trainer as their own under the name Zwift Hub and they do that at a highly competitive price of around £450/Eu500. Therein lies the problem as a trainer at that sort of price level causes other trainer companies difficulties, made worse by trickier times for indoor bike training due to the upcoming recession and sales brought-forward over the last 2 years because of Covid-19.



zwift hub review

To make matters worse, Wahoo believes that JetBlack has copied its Wahoo Kickr Core smart trainer. Indeed Wahoo says this


In 2021, Zwift announced its intent to sell their own hardware devices. However, on information and belief, Zwift lacks Wahoo’s track record and experience in making hardware, and subsequently encountered difficulties in developing its own hardware and decided to shelve its hardware products and lay off staff tasked with developing that hardware…

More specifically, the Hub is identical, in all material respects, to the KICKR CORE, one of Wahoo’s innovative bicycle trainers. By copying the KICKR CORE, Zwift has infringed three of Wahoo’s patents.


Buy KICKR Core Zwift One
Buy KICKR Core Zwift One

Specifically, Wahoo claims that these 3 patents were infringed and if you read the link, below, you might conclude Wahoo appears to have a good case although the court will clearly be the one to decide.

  • US 10,933,290 B2 – “Bicycle Trainer”;
  • US 10,046,222 B2 – “System and Method for Controlling a Bicycle Trainer.”; and
  • US 11,090,542 B2 – “System and Method for Controlling a Bicycle Trainer”.


via: Cycling Tips


Why Now?

To my untrained legal eye, Wahoo’s patent is wide-ranging and JetBlack may well have been infringing it for some time. Other industry players might also fall foul of similar infringements.

Q: Why not sue a small player like JetBlack several years ago when/if they first infringed the patent?

A: Perhaps it wouldn’t have sufficient funds to settle an adverse ruling?

Clearly, Zwift’s move is different. It is seen as a direct competitive threat to the lower-priced end of Wahoo’s trainer business.

Wahoo must already have a good relationship with Zwift as the two have worked together to grow Zwift’s part of the indoor training market, so action against a key partner would not have been taken lightly.


Wahoo is clearly worried that Zwift Hub will dent its profits.

Zwift probably needs to make more money than it makes from subscriptions alone. Trainer hardware is both a source of revenue as well as a means to direct new subscribers into the fold.

Patent protection isn’t always what it seems. Even if a patent is granted (‘approved’) it doesn’t necessarily mean that a court will uphold Wahoo’s action in support of their patent. This sort of case could well be settled out of court by JetBlack/Zwift paying a royalty for the use of the patents. Even raising the Hub’s pricing might go some way to appeasing Wahoo. Should this go to court, Zwift might argue that Wahoo was aware of the potential infringements for years but did nothing (I believe that is a defence).

Don’t expect the sparks to fly…this could turn out to be a damp squib.


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6 thoughts on “Wahoo sues Zwift

  1. Lord, here we go. Lawyers 1, consumers 0. :). If the Zwift comes from China, it’s likely a valid lawsuit.

    1. JetBlack is American I believe? If it’s designed in America but built in china’ that isn’t china’s fault. (Edit: NZ as above, below)

      That said, elsewhere, China appears to be a cesspit of IP theft. so i take your sentiment on board.

  2. As my granddad always used to tell me – If youre being out-competed in the market, sue your competitors.

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