The Newest Headlines Surrounding Massage Chairs and Human Touch

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT AWARDS $1.7 MILLION IN DAMAGES TO HUMAN TOUCH® IN PATENT INFRINGEMENT SUIT

Long Beach, CA – September 16, 2008Human Touch®, the leading brand of high-performance, design-oriented massage chairs for today’s modern and traditional living spaces, announced today that a U.S. District Court jury awarded $1.7 million in damages to the company in its lawsuit against WFO Imports, LLC, which does business as Premier Health Products, for infringement of its exclusive patent rights directed to key aspects of its Human Touch massage technology.

In January, the Court ruled that a number of massage chairs marketed and sold by the defendant, namely Premier Health Products’ PHP 2024, 2026, 2026w and 2027 massage chairs have infringed the patent at issue, which describes Human Touch’s proprietary lower leg massage technology and is used in the footrest portion of some Human Touch massage chairs. The technology has a unique paddle design and movement that provides a multi-dimensional massage around the user’s calf and lower leg.

Over the past three decades, Human Touch (formerly Interactive Health LLC) has invested millions of dollars into developing its proprietary technologies to effectively replicate the massage movements of professional massage therapists. Human Touch filed suit against WFO Imports, LLC in 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Human Touch became aware that WFO Imports, LLC was manufacturing and distributing massage chairs that incorporated its proprietary lower leg massage technology, which infringed the exclusive patent rights held by Human Touch, LLC. The jury recognized the validity of the ‘940 patent and awarded Human Touch $1.7 million in damages.

“Human Touch is a pioneer and leader in the development of massage technology and thus holds numerous patents and trademarks. For almost three decades, Human Touch has been developing, marketing and branding innovative technology” said Andrew Cohen, President of Human Touch. “Our retail partners, distributors and consumers know that there is a difference in the comforts and technologies of a Human Touch branded massage chair and thus we will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure that our intellectual property is protected and that retail partners and consumers are never misled by competitors.”

Attorneys David Dillard and Art Hasan led the Christie, Parker & Hale legal team that prosecuted the case. “We are very pleased that the jury recognized the truly innovative nature of this invention,” Dillard said.  “Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but not when it comes to a fundamental risk to Human Touch’s business and immense goodwill the company enjoys with consumers and in the industry.” 

In a related action, Human Touch announced separately today that another U.S. District Court jury awarded $4.55 million to the company on trademark, trade dress, and unfair competition claims brought against American Lighting Industry, Inc. and other parties.

About Human Touch®:

Human Touch®, the U.S. market leader of robotic massage products, offers advanced technology and designs for consumers seeking to incorporate health and wellness into their everyday routine. Appealing to back pain sufferers, sports enthusiasts, and those looking to relax from today’s hectic lifestyles, Human Touch® delivers high-quality Robotic Massage® chairs, zero gravity recliners, and other massage products that are generations ahead of the competition. Human Touch® currently sells products to specialty stores, fine furniture stores across the country, on-line at www.humantouch.com as well as international retailers and distributors in more than 48 countries worldwide.