I was catching up on my Shark Tank episodes and the new home gym from PRx Performance caught my attention. I have a home gym with a full Smith machine, which I really love. However, it takes up a lot of room. The weight rack from PRx has most of the same features, but takes about a quarter of the space. If I didn’t already have my Smith machine, I’d probably buy one.
But what caught my attention was their patent claims. They mentioned that they had a competitor that infringed the claims of their pending application. Of course, most inventors think competitors infringe and always assume their patent will issue with the same claims that were in the originally filed case. That almost never happens. To add fuel to the file, Lori suggested that they more their application to the fast track, a procedure where you pay a legal bribe to the patent office and they move your case to the front of the line. I use this all the time, but the problem is that you have to pay the fee when you file the application, not later on. While Lori didn’t give an offer she mentioned that she “hoped they can get their patent, then you can move forward in this space.” Personally, I would never tell someone that they couldn’t move forward unless they have a patent, mostly because you can usually design around a patent. Although the product may not be quite as good, you can still be in the space.
Kevin O’Leary chimed in, wanting a piece of the action. he said that, “I am assuming your patent will hold up. I’ll show you how to sue them.” Kevin makes me laugh. I wonder if he has ever brought a patent infringement suit. Does he know it costs at least $2 million to litigate a patent? I doubt they have that much in sales, let alone profits.
In any event, I did some digging to try to sort out fact from fiction. What I found surprised me. The PRx patent actually issued in June 2016, and it went straight through to grant–with no office actions. That means it issued with the same claims it was filed with. This is extremely rare. I figured it was because the claims were so narrow that the patent office decided just to give them a patent. However, the claims are decent. The patent number is US 9,333,387 and here is claim 1.
- A retractable wall mountable exercise rack, comprising: a first support member; a first set of arms pivotally connected to said first support member, wherein said first set of arms are adapted to be pivotally connected to a wall opposite of said first support member; a second support member spaced apart from said first support member; and a second set of arms pivotally connected to said second support member, wherein said second set of arms are adapted to be pivotally connected to a wall opposite of said second support member; wherein said support members have an extended position and a retracted position, wherein said support members are positioned near or adjacent to said wall when in said retracted position and wherein said support members are distally positioned away from said wall when in said extended position; wherein said first support member includes a plurality of first apertures adapted to removably receive a first support bracket and wherein said second support member includes a plurality of second apertures adapted to removably receive a second support bracket, wherein said first support bracket and said second support bracket are configured to removably receive and support a barbell.
It appears to cover the product I saw on the show and provides some decent protection. Also, I noticed they filed a continuation–something I always recommend. The continuation hasn’t published yet, so I can’t see those claims. Yet, it will help to keep out competitors.
In the end, Kevin gave an offer and it was accepted. I hope these guys do well, that they don’t have to sue their competitor, and that Kevin actually uses the product so he can do a pull up.