We arrive in the New Year with optimism and high expectations. As usual, resolutions for self-improvement top the lists of many, and 2020 is the year we are finally going to get in shape. No doubt, fitness is an invaluable part of life as it contributes to our overall health, happiness, and well-being. Fitness is also fascinating because, as an industry, it rakes in over $80 billion globally, with about a third of that being attributable to the United States market. Of course, a good portion of the market results from health and fitness club memberships, but how much do patented inventions contribute to the fitness industry? To help answer this question, we turned to patent search and analytics tools offered by LexisNexis® IP.
Fitness and the CPC
We find our first tangible indication that the fitness industry churns out patentable inventions by looking to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme, a patent classification system jointly developed by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The CPC dedicates an entire subclass (A63B) to patents covering any “apparatus for physical training, gymnastics, swimming, climbing, or fencing; ball games; [or] training equipment.” As expected, most of the patented fitness inventions we see on the market today fall, at least partially, into CPC A63B.
Using CPC A63B, we uncovered additional information about fitness patents by running a patent search through LexisNexis TotalPatent One®, a patent search platform with the ability to search the world’s largest collection of patent documents. What we found is that over 313,000 patent documents from all of the patent authorities within reach of TotalPatent One™ fall into CPC A63B, which provides a glimpse into the incredible amount of resources that have been poured into protecting fitness-related intellectual property. Not surprising, the USPTO leads the world with over 113,000 CPC A63B patent document filings, with China coming in second with just over 22,000.
Fitness and the USPTO
When fitness patent applications are filed with the USPTO, which groups of patent examiners handle their assessments, and how likely is it that those patents will be granted? We gain a sense for where a patent is likely to wind up by using the PathWays™ tool in the LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® patent analytics platform. By entering information about an invention, such as related keywords or descriptive language, PathWays provides a list of the USPTO Technology Center Groups that are most likely to assess a patent application claiming the invention.
By running a query with the exact description of CPC A63B (shown above), we see that fitness inventions have an 84 percent chance of being assigned to Tech Center Group 37A, a group of patent examiners focused on examining amusement and education devices. The second most likely USPTO technology center group to examine fitness patent applications is Tech Center Group 37F, which focuses on inventions pertaining to “body treatment, kinesitherapy, and exercise.” These groups respectively grant only 58.3 percent and 66.3 percent of the patent applications they come across, which means that, for most, obtaining a fitness patent from the USPTO is not easy. Then again, when it comes to fitness, nothing comes easy.
LexisNexis® IP products provide insights into the patent world and ensure more efficient and effective patent research and prosecution. From searches for fitness patents to the fitness of your USPTO patent applications, LexisNexis IP has a solution for you.