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Samsung Sues Smart Ring Maker Oura Before Oura Can Sue It

The legal action comes before the company's Galaxy Ring arrives in August.

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Samsung will soon launch the Galaxy Ring, its entrant into the smart ring market, and the South Korea tech giant is looking to get ahead of any potential patent litigation that could arise from competitors.

Specifically, Samsung has preemptively filed suit against Oura, which makes the Oura Ring wearable designed to monitor health and fitness data. In its lawsuit, spotted by The Verge, Samsung is seeking a declaratory judgment against Oura, accusing the company of a “pattern of indiscriminate assertion of patent infringement against any and all competitors in the smart ring market.”

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    Samsung said Oura has filed patent infringement suits based on features common to virtually all smart rings, such as the inclusion of sensors, electronics, and batteries, and displaying a score-based summary of user measurements. The company said Oura has sued at least one manufacturer before its smart ring reached the U.S. market. As the suit points out, Oura has targeted smart ring competitors including Ultrahuman, Circular and Ringconn.

    Oura has not officially taken any legal action against Samsung, but Samsung suggested that the company has been hinting at continuing down that road. The company points to a statement from Oura CEO Tom Hale that was released on the same day Samsung announced its upcoming Galaxy Ring. In the statement, Hale claims his company has the “strongest IP portfolio — in both hardware and software — for the smart ring form factor, with 100 granted patents, 270 pending patent applications and 130+ registered trademarks.”

    The lawsuit also notes that Hale appeared on CNBC about one week after the Galaxy Ring was announced and said that his company would be closely monitoring Samsung’s development of the smart ring.

    Samsung plans to launch the Galaxy Ring in the U.S. in August and, because many of its features are similar to the features at the center of previous Oura patent suits, it’s asking the court ahead of time to declare that its new wearable technology does not infringe on Oura’s patents.

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