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.

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Well, August was a month of rebuilding for me. I was finally able to completely recover from the toll of adventure racing from the months of June and July and settle back into an ironman triathlon training regime.

The most difficult part of the transition was getting my legs used to frequent running, which is a much different motion than the trekking (ie. Power hiking) involved with adventure racing.

Thankfully, I was re-united with my Human Touch massage chair and re-discovered the benefits of the calf massage feature, which has proven to be critical in relaxing some extremely tight muscles. The combination of hilly San Francisco terrain and my tendency to sleep with my toes pointed results in shortened calf muscles. If I don’t stay on top of this, it can quickly refer into hip/quad pain as a resulted of altered gait. I am now up to 30-50 miles of running per week and have remained pain free!

Although I didn’t race myself during August, I was cheering on some special friends in their own ultra-endurance quests this summer. My friends Michele Santilhano and Shanna Armstrong (both of whom I met at Ultraman World Championships last year) both competed in the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon and the Boulder 24 Hours of Triathlon competitions. I returned to Denver to help pace a fellow runner at the Leadville 100 Trail Marathon, a 100 mile trail race at 10,000 feet elevation. “Pacing” involves running with a competitor and supporting him/her through portions of the last 50 miles of the race. Miles 50-80 involve a lot of hiking over beautiful mountain passes through the late hours of the evening. I spent 7 hours with my runner, a gentleman from Reno, NV, who has completed several 100-mile races in his running career. As we trekked alongside an alpine lake at midnight, I had a fleeting thought, “this is the 12th night I’ve spent this year, hiking through the night with some fellow racer!” I felt pretty fortunate to have the health and fortitude to be able to do such things with my body.

Last, but not least, my friend Sheldon Boreen finished his first Ultraman race in Penticton, Canada last weekend. An Ultraman is essentially a 3 day stage triathlon, involving 6.2 miles of swimming, 261 miles of cycling and 52 miles of running.

I’m so proud of the accomplishments of all of them!

Now, for me, 5 weeks remain until Ironman Hawaii. I have one more 24 hour adventure race (Tahoe Big Blue) between now and then. Although I haven’t been racing, I’ve had some very fun training weekends, involving long bike rides and runs at Lake Tahoe and along the beautiful coast of California. Thanks to many dozens of hours of massage, my friend Don Wolf (whom I mentioned suffers from a very painful back disorder) has been able to join me on some of my bike rides. Last weekend, we climbed a very steep coastal road that is part of the Tour de California. We cycled over a very famous climb from this race, where the names of famous pro cyclists are spray-painted onto the asphalt. I thought how amazing it was, that someone who is often bed-ridden with back pain, could be out doing this ride that even the pro’s would find difficult. That is really the amazing power of massage!

Iona MacKenzie

A manufacturing engineer by trade, turned triathlete and adventure race competitor, Iona Mackenzie has built a reputation as one of the toughest competitors on the circuit. She has been dubbed the “Queen of the Machine,” for her machine like ability to overcome physical pain during races.

“Our bodies are the vessels which house our souls, hearts and minds. They are here for us to live through, not just to hang clothes on. Play hard, work solid, eat well – and REST. For me, that’s the quickest recipe to happiness.”

- Iona MacKenzie

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

As I write this journal entry I am home enjoying my Human Touch massage chair after six long weeks on the road. Although I am exhausted, I am excited to report that my play over the last six weeks earned me a spot in the Tour Championship (top-30 on season ending Fed-Ex Cup List). Following the British Open, I was ranked around 80th in the points standings; but my play over the last six weeks moved me inside the top-30.

In addition to my spot in the Tour Championship, I also earn exemptions into the 2009 Masters Tournament and US Open which is rewarding. As always, thanks for reading my entries. Hopefully, my good play will continue and I will have a good report following the Tour Championship.

All the best-

Tim Clark

Born in Durban, South Africa, Tim Clark, currently ranked 37th in the World Golf Rankings, has been a successful player in the PGA Tour since 2001 and is a member of the Human Touch Wellness Council promoting Human Touch Massage Chairs.

Monday, September 08th, 2008

From one leader to two winners, Human Touch® congratulates what many call the greatest beach volleyball team of all time – Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.

 

After winning the gold medal in women’s beach volleyball without losing a game at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, the amazing team took home a second gold from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. May-Treanor and Walsh did not lose a single set in either of the past two Olympics and the win in their final match extended their unbeaten streak to 108 matches.

We’re honored to offer this golden duo a seat in our iJoy Robotic Massage chairs in hopes it will help them feel better, play better and perform better (if that’s even possible).

Thursday, September 04th, 2008

We were invited to place our chairs in the players lounge of the PGA Championship Tour at Willow Creek Golf Course the first week of September. Apparently, one of the tournament organizers sat in the HT-1650 massage chair by Human Touch at another event and was so impressed that he wanted us to put our chairs throughout the golf course. We will have one among the players, one among the volunteers, and a few more in the vendor village. We are quite excited about this exposure of these chairs. The HT-1650 is one of my personal favorites. You know, before we had our showroom, the most popular massage chair we sold was probably the HT-7120 massage chair, but since we have had actual folks in our chairs, the HT-1650 has been our top seller…without question and without a close second. I just have to learn how to golf better! I was invited to the press conference for the Tour and went golfing afterwards with the other invitees. Oh my, I have a lot of work to do. I may need to have fellow Wellness Council member, Tim Clark, give me a few tips. I would hate to have my golf skills distort, in the eyes of others, the amazing massage of the 1650!!

We will be adding 7 new Human Touch models to our website this month. They include 3 of the iJoy chairs (iJoy 130, iJoy 300, and the HT-2720) and 4 regular HT chair models (HT-5270, HT-5320, HT-103, HT-5005). We are excited to add these chairs to www.massage-chair-relief.com.

I am continually amazed at the physiological benefits gained from regular use of a massage chair. It seems that we regularly get feedback from clients about how they feel better using the chairs. Some of the feedback is surprising and, in some cases, even counter-intuitive. We have seen a few clients with diabetes notice an increase in peripheral sensation following the use of the foot and calf massage feature…which is amazing to me.

Dr. Alan Weidner
http://www.massage-chair-relief.com