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 john_ribeiro@idg.com

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

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?