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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Smart Shirt’ Sparks Rash of Lawsuits in Ga.

(CN) - An Atlanta tech firm sued nine apparel firms including Ralph Lauren, Victoria's Secret and Adidas North America claiming they are all infringing on its exclusive licenses for "wearable technology" developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In separate lawsuits filed in the Atlanta Federal Court, Sarvint Technologies Inc. says the defendants are infringing on two Georgia Tech Research Corporation patents it was given the exclusive rights to in April 2014.

The technology, called the "world's first Wearable Motherboard," was invented at Georgia Tech by a team of researchers including Sundaresan Jayaraman and Sungmee Park, both of whom are Sarvint co-founders.

According to the complaint, the company's first "Smart Shirt" will be commercially available later this year. The garment uses specialty fibers to measure vital signs such as heart rate, temperature, respiration rate and other health metrics that can be monitored on a smart phone.

Since it's invention, the wearable technology has been lauded as a breakthrough achievement, and the first smart shirt is housed in the Smithsonian Institution, the complaint says.

But as evidenced from this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sarvint Technologies already has a lot of competition in a market that's expected to be in the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.

"I often forget my keys or my mobile phone, but I never forget to get dress," French entrepreneur Jean-Luc Errant told Bloomberg Businessweek as he sought out $100 million in deals at the show to fund production of a smart T-shirt for joggers.

"Why force people to wear another object if we can fit sensors into the clothes of their backs," Errant said, explaining the potential appeal of such products.

In the same article, the founder of another smart clothes startup that's signed a deal with Ralph Lauren, called the breakthrough "the beginning of a convergence between the world of fashion and tech."

As far as Sarvint Technologies Inc. efforts like these represent the "unauthorized manufacture, use, sale, offer to sell, and/or importation" of products infringing on its patents.

"Sarvint is in the process of building its management team and is raising capital to fund the development of products practicing the claims of the '482 and '731 Patents. The existence of competitors making, using, offering for sale, and selling products which infringe the '482 and '731 Patents are negatively affecting Sarvint's ability to raise capital and build its business," the company says.

It is seeking a declaration that the products the defendants are designing or selling are infringing on its exclusive licenses, and an order requiring the defendants to pay Sarvint unspecified compensatory damages.

The company is represented by Peter Schoenthaler of Atlanta, Ga.

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