Legal trouble in wearables business: Jawbone sues Fitbit

Fitbit has been sued by Jawbone for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets

Jawbone Fitness Tracker UP Move

Jawbone Fitness Tracker UP Move

The intense rivalry in the wearables market has spilled over into court with Jawbone accusing rival Fitbit of "systematically plundering" its employees, trade secrets and intellectual property.

In a suit filed in San Francisco against Fitbit and five employees, Jawbone has said that beginning this year, Fitbit recruiters contacted about 30 percent of Jawbone's employees and induced at least five employees to join the company.

The new hires at Fitbit allegedly gained access to and downloaded from their work computers information about Jawbone's current and projected business plans, products and technology. Confidential information was transferred out on USB thumb drives or to personal email accounts, according to a copy of the complaint published by The Verge.

The aim, according to an unnamed Fitbit recruiter, cited in the complaint, was to "decimate" Jawbone. Both companies are based in San Francisco.

Last month, Marty Reaume, Fitbit's chief people officer, in an unsolicited call to her counterpart at Jawbone is said to have agreed that her company was poaching Jawbone employees. She claimed there was nothing untoward about it, and did not refer to the alleged theft of trade secrets and related charges, according to the complaint.

Both Jawbone and Fitbit compete in the tracker business. The lawsuit comes ahead of a Fitbit's plan for an initial public offering.

Fitbit said in a regulatory filing related to the IPO earlier this month that it sold 10.9 million devices in 2014, up from 4.5 million in 2013. It quoted the NPD Group in that document as stating that it holds the leading position in the U.S. fitness activity tracker market, with a 68 percent share, by U.S. dollars, in 2014.

In its complaint Wednesday in the Superior Court of the State of California for the county of San Francisco, Jawbone said other persons may also be involved, but it didn't know their true identities as of now.

Jawbone has asked the court to order financial damages as well as to stop the former employees from disclosing further trade secrets, and block Fitbit from using the secrets.

Fitbit did not immediately comment on the lawsuit. Jawbone said it could not comment on legal cases.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicslegalFitbitjawbone

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?