Microsoft Kinect launch could be scuppered by Power Balance law suit

Microsoft is facing legal action over the launch of the Kinect, slated to be announced on the 4th of November.

A company called Power Balance filed a case against Microsoft on November the first,  in the Central District Court of California, alleging it breaches the Trade Dress Act (15 USC § 1125(a) and for  unfair business practices.

Power Balance said Microsoft had misappropriated Power Balance’s distinctive trade dress. It specialises in hologram performance technology and claims it pioneered the market for silicone wristbands containing holograms.

“Every day, famous athletes seeing to maximise their performance become public fans of this new and innovative product,” the filing claims.

Microsoft, it’s alleged, made a silicone wristband product “that features characteristics that are confusingly similar to Power Balance’s product. On November 4, 2010, Microsoft plans to sell promotional wristbands in connection with the launch of its Xbox Kinect game system.

“If a company like Microsoft is permitted to go forward with a massive launch into commerce of products bearing Power Balance’s trade dress, the instant and widespread marketplace confusion will be permanently damaging to Power Balance.”

The company wants temporary relief, and permanent injunctive relief. It claims that Microsoft is creating a “knock off product” called the Kinect Wristband, distributed by Best Buy.  This, it’s alleged mimics its own hologram wristbands.

The filing has an illustration that compares Microsoft’s wristband and its own.  Power Balance said that when it learned of the imminent distribution of the Microsoft wristband, it immediately sent cease and desist notices to it and to Best Buy, demanding that Microsoft stop immediately. Neither Microsoft nor Best Buy responded to the notices.

Kinect Wrist Band