The war of the rings: Oura sues Ultrahuman

Smart ring companies to clash in court over alleged patent infringements and access to confidential information.

The first lines have been drawn in the battle for global smart ring dominance. Finnish wearable technology company Oura has filed a lawsuit against Ultrahuman, claiming that the Indian company’s smart ring product “willfully infringes a number of Oura patents and copyrights.”

Founded in 2013, Oura is the company behind the Oura Ring, a health tracker worn on the finger that contains an array of sensors designed to track things like activity, recovery, sleep, heart health, stress, and early detection of illness. Last year, Ultrahuman, the company behind the Ultrahuman M1 glucose monitoring platform, announced the launch of the Ultrahuman Ring – a metabolism-tracking wearable that monitors the wearer’s sleep, movement and recovery.

Oura’s lawsuit, recently filed in Texas, is strongly worded, claiming that Ultrahuman has “blatantly copied Oura’s technology, rather than innovating and developing its own products or features.” The lawsuit alleges instances of copyright infringement, claiming that Ultrahuman has deliberately replicated Oura’s social media content and user interface designs, and that Ultrahuman allegedly uses many of the same sensors, battery components, and materials as those found in the Oura Ring.

The lawsuit extends beyond technical features, including allegations of recruitment malpractice and even that Ultrahuman benefited from confidential information acquired by some of its investors. In addition to claims around solicitation of its former employees and engineers, Oura claims that an Ultrahuman investor linked to “a sovereign wealth fund” gained access to confidential and proprietary information about the Oura Ring in December 2021.

With other smart rings expected to hit the market soon, it will be interesting to see how Ultrahuman responds to these allegations. But such cases are rarely resolved swiftly, so be prepared for a long wait before any conclusions are reached.