Risk Management

Jawbone Strikes Back at Fitbit Patent Suit

The wearable fitness device-makers are waging war against each other in court.
Matthew HellerNovember 3, 2015
Jawbone Strikes Back at Fitbit Patent Suit

In the latest salvo in a multi-pronged legal battle between two leading makers of wearable fitness devices, Jawbone has accused Fitbit of conducting a “by-any-means-necessary campaign” to maintain market dominance.

The companies have been trading lawsuits since June, when Jawbone alleged that Fitbit stole employees from its chief rival to gain access to trade secrets. Fitbit, among other things, has filed patent infringement suits against Jawbone in California and Delaware.

Responding to the California suit, Jawbone said in court papers filed Oct. 30 that Fitbit had “no reasonable basis” for bringing infringement claims.

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“Fitbit filed this meritless patent case as part of its by-any-means-necessary campaign to impede competitors and preserve its dominant position in the fitness-tracker market,” Jawbone argued. “None of Jawbone’s accused products even arguably infringes the asserted patents, making it clear that Fitbit intends to use this case to intimidate and harass its most prominent competitor rather than legitimately enforce its intellectual property rights.”

Jawbone is seeking a court order declaring Fitbit’s patents are invalid and an award of treble damages “caused by Fitbit’s anticompetitive conduct.”

In the infringement suits filed in September, Fitbit said Jawbone’s UP Move, UP24, UP2, UP3, and UP4 products as well as the UP software interface infringe on three patents. Jawbone had previously sued its competitor in June over alleged infringement of three patents it obtained when it acquired BodyMedia in 2013.

Fitbit called Jawbone’s latest allegations “unfounded, and yet another misguided attempt for publicity to deflect attention from Jawbone’s own lack of performance.”

On Monday, Fitbit also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission to halt U.S. imports of Jawbone products that allegedly infringe on Fitbit patents.

In the trade secrets case, Jawbone scored a victory last month when a judge issued a preliminary injunction and ordered five former Jawbone employees to return allegedly confidential files they took with them to Fitbit.