Patent Forecast® is predicting that smart bed manufacturers will soon begin filing patent infringement lawsuits against each other. Major smart bed manufacturers in the Consumer Sleep Technology sector include Sleep Number (91 patent assets), Eight Sleep (28 patent assets), Tempur Sealy (25 patent assets), and Simmons Bedding Co. (23 patent assets). As previously noted, Sleep Number is investing heavily in patents, and the company does not seem to be slowing down, with ten (10) new patent publications this week.
The mattress industry is no stranger to patent litigation, with major manufacturers involved in patent litigation in recent years. For example, Tempur Sealy sued Simmons Bedding Co. over two design patents, which resulted in invalidation of the Tempur Sealy patents based on obviousness. Serta Simmons sued Casper Sleep for patent infringement, which resulted in a settlement agreement and further litigation. Additionally, Sleep Number sued Personal Comfort over three patents, which resulted in a victory at the U.S. International Trade commission for Personal Comfort.
So why haven’t we seen patent infringement lawsuits on smart bed technology yet? Companies are waiting to maximize damages in the infringement lawsuits. The global smart bed market is predicted to grow from $4 billion in 2020 to $7.7 billion in 2026, with the majority of sales in North America. The statutes governing patent infringement allow recovery of damages for the six years prior to filing an infringement suit, and laches cannot be used as a defense during that six-year period based on the Supreme Court’s ruling in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC. We will likely see patent infringement suits in the next few years to balance maximizing damages with future royalties. To keep an eye on future litigation and other trends in consumer sleep, check out the Consumer Sleep Technology Patent Forecast®!