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Valencell files a federal lawsuit against hearable maker Bragi

Valencell is a company that makes advanced biometric sensors used to monitor human vital functions such as heart rate and RR intervals. Its licensed technology has been used in several products manufactured by some of the largest corporations worldwide, such as Jabra’s newest wireless earbuds Elite Sport, or Samsung’s latest biometric earpieces.

The company decided to sue Bragi after the German startup started selling wearable devices with incorporated heart rate sensors that allegedly infringe four of Valencell’s patents. According to Valencell’s claim, Bragi tried to discuss a deal several times over the year, although an arrangement has never been reached. Despite that, the German hearable maker decided to distribute the Dash headphones to the global markets anyways, causing Valencell an economic damage. The American company is also asking that Bragi pays a mandatory ongoing license fee.

After reaching its $260,000 Kickstarter crowdfunding goal in less that 48 hours, Bragi developed Dash, a multi-function device that could track movement, heart rate, blood oxygen and other vitals, while playing music and providing acoustic feedback. The product was then launched at the beginning of the current year, and distributed in partnership with the British telecommunications company Vodafone.

The hearables market is booming, and analysts expect it to grow to over $40 billion by the year 2020. Confirming a trend that started back in 2013, this year Bluetooth-enabled headsets sales surpassed those of non-Bluetooth ones for the first time. It’s not surprising then that Valencell is trying to get rid of any possible opponent to obtain the largest shares of the market. Earlier this year, the American company already filed litigation against Fitbit and Apple, accusing them of infringing its patented PerformTek biometric sensor.

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